Here are the stories our panel of top political reporters will be watching for in the week ahead, in today’s “Inside Politics” forecast.
1. Harris’ post-debate strategy
California Sen. Kamala Harris’ debate performance supercharged her campaign fundraising last week, and it may usher in a whole new strategy for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
“I’m told Harris intends to talk much more about her personal story and biography going forward,” Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur said. “After the overwhelmingly positive response she got talking about her story as a black girl who grew up in a neighborhood that benefited from busing, she’s decided that people want to know who she is and where she’s coming from.”
And the White House has taken note if her surge. “Expect a potential nickname soon,” Kapur said.
2. Castro hopes to capitalize
Former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro has been stuck at 1 or 2 percent in the polls, but CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson said Castro thinks his strong debate performance will jumpstart his campaign.
“One of the arguments you saw him trying to make during the debate is that he too can win in unlikely places,” Henderson said. “This next week he will be in rural Nevada, making that argument. And Beto O’Rourke was obviously making the same argument, and Pete Buttigieg too. So look for that in the coming days.”
3. Congress shows little interest in Trump rape allegation
You’d think allegations that the President raped a woman two decades ago would prompt some sort of action or investigation by Congress, but not in Trump-era Washington, CNN’s Manu Raju reports.
“Many Republicans sidestepped questions when asked” about the accusation from writer E. Jean Carroll that Trump sexually assaulted her in a clothing store dressing room in the mid-1990s. That part isn’t much of a surprise, Raju said.
“But Democrats are also showing little interest in pursuing the matter. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doesn’t know what Congress’ role would be over this alleged episode,” Raju said.
“And when I spoke to House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, he told me he ‘hasn’t decided’ whether to pursue it. ‘We’ve got 85 investigations, so I’m going to look it over and prioritize,’ he told me. Democrats have their hands full trying to get their investigations moving, and believe they’re on firmer ground looking into potential abuses of power in the White House.”
4. DACA decision: Courts or Congress?
The Supreme Court announced it will hear a case next term about the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — the Obama-era executive order known as DACA that protects so-called Dreamers, the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children. The Trump administration wants to rescind it, but has been blocked by the lower courts.
“A key question here is timing,” New York Times reporter Michael Shear said. “The Court is going to hear arguments in the case this fall, during the Democratic primaries. And it will decide the case next June, most likely — right at the beginning of the general election.”
So far Congress has refused to intervene, but Shear said that could change.
“The closer that day gets, the more pressure there is on Congress to finally come together and do something they’ve been unable to do for literally years, and solve this problem before the courts have to solve it for them,” Shear said.
5. Confronting Iran
This could be a key week for the Trump administration’s confrontation with Iran.
Iran has ramped up its enrichment of low-grade uranium, and says it may pass the limit on what it’s allowed to stockpile by Thursday. That could prompt the Trump administration to stop granting waivers allowing work on Iran’s civilian nuclear energy program — waivers that have remained in effect even as the US withdrew from the overall deal, Politico’s Eliana Johnson said.
“The question is whether they will continue to issue those waivers for international projects, given that Iran has now surpassed that limit,” Johnson said. “They’re under pressure from hawks like John Bolton and his allies in Congress not to do so.”
A decision must come by August.