* Erica Werner and Mike DeBonis report that Democrats passed one of their major priorities today:
House Democrats voted Thursday to lift the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, delivering on a long-standing liberal priority that has become a rallying cry for 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.
The bill, which passed 231-199, would raise the minimum wage gradually from its current level of $7.25 an hour until reaching $15 an hour in 2025. The legislation was amended earlier this week at the urging of moderate Democrats to provide for a slower six-year phase-in, instead of five years as originally envisioned.
The “Fight for $15” has become a potent political push on the left, but bringing it to fruition on the floor of the House took months of maneuvering as some moderates voiced concerns about the impacts on small businesses or in rural areas where pay scales are lower than in larger metropolitan areas. Ultimately, the slower phase-in pushed by moderate members — along with a proposed study that would measure the impacts of the wage increase partway through its implementation — satisfied the concerns of the large majority of House Democrats.
For the record, the Republican position is not that the minimum wage should not be increased to $15, it’s that the minimum wage should never be increased.
* Devlin Barrett, Rosalind Helderman, and Tom Hamburger report on new details about the effort to keep Stormy Daniels quiet:
Newly unsealed court documents show that then-candidate Donald Trump communicated repeatedly with his lawyer Michael Cohen amid the election year scramble to keep quiet allegations that Trump previously had an affair with an adult-film actress.
The documents were released Thursday at the direction of a federal judge in New York, who disclosed a day before that an investigation into suspected campaign finance violations had ended. Trump and those close to him long said they were unaware that Cohen had bought the women’s silence, but phone calls and text messages documented by the FBI suggest they were closely involved.
The new details about the investigation are unlikely to have legal consequences for the president or those close to him because the hush-money investigation has concluded. However, the documents could further erode their credibility.
Don’t forget that Trump lied about this repeatedly, claiming he knew nothing about it. But this was obviously a team effort, with everyone around Trump trying to figure out how to obtain Daniels’ silence.
* David Drucker reports that many Republicans are worried that Trump’s racist attacks are putting him in real danger for 2020. So, not 11-dimensional political chess, then?
* Claire Brockway and Carroll Doherty report that a majority of Republicans now say that “If America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a country.”
* John Stoehr looks at how Trump is failing at his attempts to gaslight us.