The Democratic National Committee is conducting full-scale opposition research on multiple Republicans it believes could challenge President Donald Trump for reelection — or are likely to run if he does not.
The effort, which began in late spring, covers Vice President Mike Pence, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, among others.
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“With Trump’s tumultuous presidency in complete chaos, we are prepared for all scenarios,” said DNC research director Lauren Dillon, confirming the campaign to POLITICO.
In the case of Republicans like Pence and Kasich, the team of over two dozen DNC researchers is mostly updating the existing research books they deployed in 2016, according to Democrats familiar with the arrangement. For the others, the operatives are combing through voting and governing records, compiling financial files, searching for conflicts of interest, and saving clips on their relationships with Trump.
For an opposition party to be scrutinizing potential intraparty reelection rivals to an incumbent president just seven months into his term is highly unusual. But the start of the Trump presidency — marked by unprecedented staff turnover, the appointment of an independent counsel and a perpetual state of chaos — has been nothing if not unusual.
In recent months, the Democratic staff has increased the pace of its Freedom of Information Act-style records requests in multiple states. It has dispatched researchers to courthouses to collect legal records pertaining to the potential…
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