Good Thursday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today.
• Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced this morning that he will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge President Trump in 2020. He enters the race as an early front-runner, seen by many Democrats as a trustee of former President Barack Obama’s legacy.
• In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, she tried to focus the White House on one of her highest priorities as homeland security secretary: preparing for new and different Russian forms of interference in the 2020 election. But President Trump’s chief of staff told her not to bring it up it in front of Mr. Trump.
• The Trump administration escalated its defiance of Congress, as the Justice Department refused to let an official testify on Capitol Hill and Mr. Trump vowed to fight what he called a “ridiculous” subpoena ordering a former top aide to appear before lawmakers.
• While Mr. Trump once welcomed the Mueller report as “total exoneration,” the president in recent days has assailed it as a “total ‘hit job’” produced by “true Trump Haters.”
• As Speaker Nancy Pelosi urges caution on impeachment, House Democrats are caught between their sense of historic responsibilities and political considerations in the wake of the special counsel’s damning portrait of abuses.
• In an overlooked section of the Mueller report, Mr. Trump tried to wield the power of law enforcement to target his political rival, Hillary Clinton — a step that no president since Richard Nixon is known to have taken.
• Mr. Trump declared on Wednesday that he was committed to ending the opioid crisis “once and for all.” Some officials say Mr. Trump has handled the crisis better than most; others say he has done a better job framing the problem than dealing with it.
• Mr. Trump promised to be the champion of the “Forgotten American.” To some Republicans in Altoona, a small Pennsylvania town, that promise is unfulfilled.
• At a forum in Houston hosted by the political group She the People, Democratic presidential candidates spoke directly to a crucial constituency in their party’s primaries: women of color.
• As the presidential nominating contest narrows next year, there may not be room for two white men under 50 who present themselves as mainstream progressives. Yes, we’re talking about Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg.
• The longest-serving Republican in the Iowa legislature, Any McKean, announced that he would become a Democrat, warning that his party of many decades would soon pay “a heavy price” for its support of Mr. Trump.
Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Isabella Grullón Paz in New York.
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