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Once A Democratic Bastion, Minnesota Trends Red Heading Into 2020

By Stewart Lawrence - the federalist.com

Let’s say Donald Trump fails to sweep the Rust Belt states in 2020. His chances of winning Ohio, where he swamped Hillary Clinton by 9 points in 2016, are still great. But without Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where Trump won by smaller margins four years ago, the president might well lose reelection.

In 2016, Trump had a 68 electoral-vote margin over Clinton — 304 to 236. Take away the combined 44 electoral votes from those three states, and Trump falls short of the needed 270 votes by 10.

With Trump trailing most of the Democratic candidates in the Rust Belt by double digits in recent polling, liberals seem gleeful about their chances of victory in 2020. But this optimism assumes Trump cannot expand the electoral map elsewhere.

Minnesota Isn’t Feeling Blue

In fact, he can. Thanks to the success of Trump’s policies and other fortuitous developments, several other blue-trending states are certain to be in play in 2020.

Of these, none is more important than Minnesota. Its 10 electoral votes alone could offset a possible Rust Belt loss. The mainstream media has barely covered Trump’s remarkable gains in Minnesota, a state that historically is the bluest of the blue.

How blue? Even during the Reagan landslide victories of 1980 and 1984, the Gopher State remained a bastion of New Deal liberalism and economic populism. In fact, the last time the GOP captured Minnesota was during Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign in 1972, nearly a half-century ago.

Yet Trump, with his own brand of populism, nearly captured the state in 2016. He carried 78 of the state’s 87 counties, double the number carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. Overall, the margin between Trump and Hillary Clinton was a mere 1.5 percent — just 44,000 votes — the weakest Democratic tilt in decades.   ....more

Justice Dept. Watchdog Has Evidence Comey Probed Trump, on the Sly

By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations

It is one of the most enduring and consequential mysteries of the Trump-Russia investigation: Why did former FBI Director James Comey refuse to say publicly what he was telling President Trump in private -- that Trump was not the target of an ongoing probe?

That refusal ignited a chain of events that has consumed Washington for more than two years – including Comey’s firing by Trump, the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and ongoing claims that Trump obstructed justice. 

Now an answer is emerging. Sources tell RealClearInvestigations that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will soon file a report with evidence indicating that Comey was misleading the president. Even as he repeatedly assured Trump that he was not a target, the former director was secretly trying to build a conspiracy case against the president, while at times acting as an investigative agent.

Two U.S. officials briefed on the inspector general’s investigation of possible FBI misconduct said Comey was essentially “running a covert operation against” the president, starting with a private “defensive briefing” he gave Trump just weeks before his inauguration. They said Horowitz has examined high-level FBI text messages and other communications indicating Comey was actually conducting a “counterintelligence assessment” of Trump during that January 2017 meeting in New York.   ....more