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Trump tries on a fourth chief of staff in the middle of a devastating crisis

In the coming weeks, Meadows is expected to make personnel changes to the leadership of both the Domestic Policy Council, which is led by Mulvaney ally Joe Grogan, and the Office of Legislative Affairs, led by Eric Ueland, formerly a top Senate leadership aide who earned wide praise for his work alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in negotiating the recent economic package.

The timing of these changes remains unclear to close Trump advisers, given the all-consuming focus within the White House of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Meadows sought to bring a calming influence into the West Wing this past week, according to senior administration officials. He did not just meet with top officials like Kushner or Ivanka Trump who he already knows well but with a wide range of staff to gain a better understanding of the breadth of their duties. One former senior administration official joked that it really wasn’t accurate to call this past week Meadows’ first on the job week since he’d already been such a constant presence in the White House.

Unlike Mulvaney, who staffed the office with a cadre of aides that included an attorney and his own national security adviser, Meadows has arrived with a staff of four. One of those is his longtime aide and now senior adviser to the chief of staff, Ben Williamson, and a scheduler, who all have credentials and résumés that have pleased Trump’s conservative base. Meadows and Williamson did not respond to requests for comment.

The biggest challenge for Meadows is succeeding where Trump’s three prior chiefs of staff failed, even with their wildly divergent approaches. In each instance, Trump tired of their leadership styles and sidelined them for months before eventually firing them.

Priebus tried to staff the White House with former aides from the Republican National Committee, his former shop, and he tried to attend every meeting, sticking by the president’s side nonstop in an effort to maintain his power.

Kelly deployed a more military-style approach, where he initially restricted access to top meetings and the list of who could reach Trump directly by phone. It, too, failed.

Mulvaney tried the opposite approach from Kelly, vowing to allow Trump to do as he pleased and speak to whomever he wanted while Mulvaney controlled the staff. That did not work, either. Kushner essentially became the shadow chief of staff in that power vacuum, and Mulvaney was ultimately excluded from a number of major personnel decisions and key moves including during impeachment.

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Elizabeth Warren dips in fourth quarter fundraising with $21.2 million

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $21.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, ending the year behind her top-tier Democratic rivals with a dip in donations reflective of her struggling campaign.

Warren’s campaign said days before the deadline she had just $17 million — far short of the $24.6 million she raked in during the third quarter, the second-highest sum in the field. Her team had set a goal of $20 million, acknowledging the campaign would fall short of the previous quarter.

The Massachusetts Democrat ultimately exceeded her goal, buoyed by 443,000 donors who made nearly 900,000 contributions. The average donation to her campaign was $23.

Warren has raised more than $71 million throughout her presidential bid from nearly one million donors, she said Friday on Twitter.

“I’m so deeply grateful for everyone supporting our campaign,” she said. “Team Warren is ready to dream big, fight hard, and win!”

But Warren came up short compared to her key Democratic rivals, several of whom posted their best quarters yet.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders blew away the field with $34.5 million, the highest quarterly sum for a Democrat this cycle. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who has been feuding with Warren for weeks over campaign finance transparency — finished with $24.7 million. And former Vice President Joe Biden rebounded from a lackluster third quarter to close out the year with $22.7 million, his best quarter yet.

Warren’s fundraising dip reflects the slowing momentum around her campaign, which was battered throughout the fall over “Medicare for All.” Once statistically tying Biden as the polling leader, Warren slipped in both national and early state polls as the moderate Buttigieg rose.

Another moderate rival, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, raised $11.4 million in the fourth quarter, more than doubling her third quarter total, her campaign announced Friday. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang raised $16.5 million, his best quarter yet.

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Joe Biden raises $22.7 million in fourth quarter

Joe Biden brought in $22.7 million during the final three months of 2019 — but his best fundraising quarter to date still leaves the polling frontrunner trailing Democratic rivals Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

Biden’s fourth-quarter haul far exceeds the $15.2 million he brought in during the third quarter, and tops the $21.5 million he raised during the second quarter. Biden’s campaign said Thursday he’s raised $59.5 million overall since launching his campaign on April 25.

But Biden’s sum leaves him nearly $12 million behind Sanders, who raised $34.5 million in the fourth quarter and has collected more than $96 million through 5 million donations since launching his bid in February, the Vermont U.S. senator said.

Buttigieg’s campaign said the former South Bend, Ind., mayor raised more than $24.7 million from 2 million contributions.

The Democratic field as a whole continues to trail President Trump, whose campaign said it took in $46 million in the final three months of the year.

Biden’s campaign said digital revenue per day more than doubled during impeachment, up 121%, even as the former vice president weathered attacks from Trump over his and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

“These numbers clearly demonstrate Donald Trump’s lies and attacks on the Vice President have only cemented and expanded his support, serving as a constant reminder to Democratic primary voters that Trump is terrified by the idea of facing Joe Biden in a general election,” said Biden’s campaign manager, Greg Schultz. “We’re also seeing significant support from Democrats who previously supported other candidates and are now rallying behind the candidate they believe can bring the country together and beat Donald Trump.”

After a lackluster third quarter, Biden’s team said his online fundraising doubled and overall fundraising went up 49% in the fourth quarter.

Biden remains the Democratic front-runner in national polls, though both Sanders and Buttigieg polled ahead of him in New Hampshire and Iowa the last time early state polls were conducted in mid-December, according to Real Clear Politics averages.

Schultz called the financial numbers “the latest evidence of Joe Biden’s growing strength and momentum heading into the early contests of 2020.”

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang also announced his fundraising total Thursday, posting a personal best $16.5 million, breaking his record of $10 million in the previous quarter and crossing 1 million donations.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign said she had raised $17 million about four days before Tuesday’s quarterly deadline, releasing her total early in hopes of reaching a $20 million goal by Dec. 31. Her campaign has yet to announce its fourth quarter total.

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Joe Biden Announces $22.7 Million in Fourth Quarter Fund-Raising

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Thursday that he had raised $22.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, a significant improvement from his lackluster fund-raising performance in the previous three months.

Mr. Biden’s total, for the period from October through December, far exceeded the $15.7 million that he had raised during the third quarter. It was his largest quarterly haul so far, surpassing the $22 million he brought in during the second quarter.

But Mr. Biden’s fourth-quarter total was much smaller than that of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose campaign announced earlier Thursday that it had raised more than $34.5 million in the quarter. Mr. Biden, the former vice president, also lagged behind Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., whose campaign revealed on Wednesday that it had brought in more than $24.7 million. Another leading candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, has not yet announced her fund-raising total.

While Mr. Biden’s fund-raising rebound did not vault him to the top of the Democratic pack, it still offered a reassuring sign for his supporters as the primary race heads into the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses in early February. His campaign said its online fund-raising doubled in the fourth quarter, and that more than half its donors in the quarter gave to the campaign for the first time. The average donation in the quarter was $41, the campaign said.

President Trump’s impeachment appeared to lift Mr. Biden’s fund-raising. The Biden campaign said the average amount of money it raised online per day more than doubled during the House’s impeachment inquiry compared with previous weeks.

Greg Schultz, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, said on Thursday that the fund-raising announcement was “just the latest evidence of Joe Biden’s growing strength and momentum.”

“These numbers clearly demonstrate Donald Trump’s lies and attacks on the vice president have only cemented and expanded his support, serving as a constant reminder to Democratic primary voters that Trump is terrified by the idea of facing Joe Biden in a general election,” Mr. Schultz said in a statement.

Mr. Biden continues to lead national primary polls, but he has faced lingering doubts about enthusiasm for his candidacy, especially from grass-roots donors. Those doubts had been exacerbated by his weak performance in the third quarter, when his campaign spent $2 million more than it took in. He ended that period with far less cash on hand than Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren or Mr. Buttigieg.

Mr. Biden’s campaign did not say how much money it had on hand at the end of the fourth quarter. But in a memo on Thursday, Mr. Schultz wrote that “we will always be playing from behind in the cash race” because Mr. Biden had not transferred money to his presidential campaign from other campaign accounts — an apparent reference to Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, who both did so. Mr. Schultz wrote that the campaign remained “as vigilant as ever about the budget, watching every penny.”

For the fourth quarter, Mr. Biden’s campaign had publicly set a goal of receiving 500,000 individual donations. The campaign said on Thursday that it had met that goal, though it did not specify how many donations it had received.

Mr. Biden’s grass-roots strength still lags far behind some of his rivals, such as Mr. Sanders, whose campaign said it received more than 1.8 million donations in the quarter. Mr. Sanders received far more donations in December alone — more than 900,000 — than Mr. Biden had set as a goal for the three-month period.

Unlike Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden is relying on the traditional fund-raising circuit to raise money for his campaign, in addition to what he collects from grass-roots donors. Last week, Mr. Biden released a list of more than 200 people, known as bundlers, who had raised at least $25,000 for his campaign.

Ms. Warren, asked on Thursday about her own fourth-quarter donations, said that her fund-raising total would be released “soon” and, without naming them, made an implicit jab at Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg for relying in part on big-dollar events and bundlers to bring in money from wealthy donors.

“I didn’t spend one single minute selling access to my time to millionaires and billionaires,” she said to reporters after a campaign event in Concord, N.H. “I did this grass-roots all across the county.”

The Biden campaign had already boasted of its fund-raising rebound, announcing in early December that it had raised as much money in the first two months of the fourth quarter as it had during the entire previous quarter.

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Joe Biden raised $22.7 million in fourth quarter

The figure puts the former vice president behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who raised $34.5 million in the same stretch from October through December, as well as South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose fourth-quarter haul was $24.7 million.

The other member of the 2020 Democratic presidential race’s top tier, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has not yet released her fourth-quarter fundraising numbers — though her campaign told supporters late last week that, days from the deadline, she so far had raised $17 million, down from her $24.6 million third quarter.

For Biden, the fourth quarter was better than the previous two three-month stretches of his candidacy: He raised $21.5 million in 2019’s second quarter and $15.2 million in the third quarter.

“I’m excited to share that we raised $22.7 million this last quarter — our biggest quarter so far this campaign!” Biden said in a tweet along with a video Thursday afternoon. “Thank you to everyone who chipped in what you could — your support means the world to me. You truly are the heart of our campaign.”

The former vice president has held more than 100 fundraising events, which small groups of reporters have been allowed to attend.

Biden’s campaign said its online donations doubled during the fourth quarter — with a particular bump during the House’s impeachment proceedings: The amount the campaign brought in online climbed by 121% compared to the weeks before.

Overall, the average donation to Biden was $41, his campaign said.

The announcement came on the same day Biden started a four-day swing through Iowa, where his campaign has said it expects the former vice president to spend much of his time in January. He also picked up the first Democratic congressional endorsement from Iowa of the 2020 race, with Rep. Abby Finkenauer announcing her support.

Gone was the “No Malarkey” branding from previous Biden Iowa bus tours. This time, his bus was emblazoned with the words “Battle for the soul of the nation.”

He is attempting to hold on to his front-runner status through the first two contests next month, the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Then, the campaign shifts to states where the Democratic electorate is more diverse. He’s maintained a massive lead among black voters who make up more than half the Democratic electorate in South Carolina.