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The 2020 Democratic race remains stuck in place

Image: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice Presiden
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 18, 2019. Copyright Mark Makela Reuters file
Copyright Mark Makela Reuters file
By Chuck Todd and Mark Murray and Carrie Dann with NBC News Politics
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First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.


WASHINGTON — The more things have changed in the 2020 Democratic race for president, the more they've stayed the same.

That's the conclusion of two new national polls — from CNN (which is a qualifying poll for the first Dem debates) and the online Morning Consult (which isn't).

In both surveys, former Vice President Joe Biden leads Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by a 2-to-1 margin or close to it.

They're trailed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Then it's South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.

Then it's Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. — followed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro.

And then it's everyone else at or below 1 percent.

Now these are national polls — we haven't seen a good Iowa poll since April, or a good New Hampshire one since early May.

But it's pretty clear the Democratic race is pretty much stuck in place until the first debates, which take place three weeks from now.

Democrats' non-impeachment impeachment plans

Have House Democrats found a way to embark on impeaching President Trump - without explicitly calling it that?

"House Democrats announced Monday they'll hold a hearing next week focused on the Mueller report and 'presidential obstruction,'" per NBC's Alex Moe, Mike Memoli and Dareh Gregorian.

"The Judiciary Committee hearing will include testimony from former White House counsel John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate hearings that helped lead to Richard Nixon's resignation as president."

Bloomberg News also reports that House Dems are planning full House votes to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt over defying subpoenas.

"Welcome to House Democrats' non-impeachment impeachment campaign," as Politico puts it.

Pete versus the 2020 field on Al Franken

Pete Buttigieg doesn't think Dem senators should have pushed Al Franken to resign his seat after allegations that he inappropriately touched women - setting himself apart from much of the 2020 field.


Here was Buttigieg in a town hall with MSNBC's Chris Matthews last night:

Matthews: Al Franken, should [he] have been pushed to resign from the U.S. Senate by the Democratic Caucus, his fellow caucus members?

Buttigieg: I think it was his decision to make. But I think the way that we basically held him to a higher standard than the GOP does their people has been used against us.



Matthews: I know, but were [Democratic senators] right to do that, to push him out of the Senate? Because they did.

Buttigieg: I would not have applied that pressure at that time before we knew more.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., fired back with this statement: "Eight credible allegations of sexual harassment, two since he was elected senator, and one from a congressional staffer. That is not too high a standard, regardless of how the Republican Party handles this behavior."

And Gillibrand wasn't the only 2020 Dem senator who called for Franken to resign, as the Atlantic's Edward-Isaac Dovere notes.


Joining her were Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Biden rolls out his climate plan

NBC's Garrett Haake reports that Joe Biden will issue his climate plan while campaigning in New Hampshire today.

The toplines of the plan, which references the Green New Deal as a "crucial framework":

  • Spending $1.7 trillion in clean energy - paid for rolling back the Trump tax cuts - in the hopes of leveraging $5 trillion in public and private investment;
  • Setting a net-zero emissions goal by 2050;
  • Rejoining the Paris climate accord;
  • And promising aggressive pollution cuts and efficiency standards.

On the campaign trail today

Joe Biden stumps in New Hampshire, stopping in Berlin and Concord… Elizabeth Warren is in Michigan, where she visits Detroit and holds a town hall in Lansing… And Jay Inslee also visits Michigan.


Data Download: The number of the day is … more than 4 million

More than 4 million.

That's how many people are at risk of not being counted in the upcoming Census, according to a new study from the Urban Institute.

The new report finds that problems like underfunding, poor testing and the administration's attempts to add a question about respondents' citizenship status could fuel the undercount, which would disproportionately affect minorities.

Read more on the new study from NBC's Dartunorro Clarkhere.


The Lid: Working hard? Or hardly working?

Don't miss the pod from yesterday, when special guest star Mike Memoli took a look at how Joe Biden's campaign schedule compares to the day-to-day events for his competitors.

ICYMI: News clips you shouldn't miss

Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff have a new exclusive report on how overcrowding is leaving migrant children sleeping on concrete or even outside.

Here's how Mexico is respondingto even more ramped-up pressure from the Trump administration on immigration. (And meanwhile, GOP lawmakers are wondering if their next steps may be votes to block Trump's Mexico tariffs.)

A small software company wants to give 2020 candidates a free anti-hacking program, but the FEC may not let them.


And the New York Times checks inwith now-cannabis pitchman John Boehner.

Trump agenda: Baby blimp time

Anti-Trump protestors are set to floodthe streets in London today.

The House will vote next week on whether to hold AG William Barr in contempt.

The House has (finally) passedits $19 billion disaster relief bill.


Some of Trump's own allies aren't on board with Jared Kushner's plan for peace in the Middle East.

2020: Expansion plans

Team Trump is trying to expandthe 2020 map to New Mexico, Nevada and New Hampshire.

A new CNN pollstill shows Biden firmly out in front.

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