The Latest: Nevada is center stage with SC in the wings

The Latest: Nevada is center stage with SC in the wings

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential campaign (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

The political focus Saturday is on the 200 locations across Nevada that are hosting presidential caucuses.

It’s the third contest on the 2020 election calendar as Democrats try to determine which candidate will take on President Donald Trump in November.

Nevada will test the candidates’ strength with black and Latino voters for the first time in 2020, after contests in overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire.

Questions linger about Nevada Democrats’ ability to report election results quickly as new concerns surface about foreign interference in the U.S. election. Saturday’s caucuses are the first since technical glitches and human errors plagued Iowa’s kickoff caucuses. Nevada Democrats have projected confidence in their process but it’s not certain full results will be released on the day of the vote.

The state party added to its responsibilities by offering early voting — something Iowa didn’t attempt.

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9 a.m.

President Donald Trump is mocking a recent intelligence briefing given to the House intelligence committee about Moscow’s interference in the 2020 race. He’s claiming that House Democrats are saying Russia wants Bernie Sanders to win.

Democratic presidential candidate Sanders said Friday that U.S. officials told him about a month ago that Russia has been trying to help his campaign, just as Russia did on Trump’s behalf in 2016.

There actually are conflicting accounts about what the briefers told the House intelligence committee about Russia’s intentions. One intelligence official said members were not told in the briefing that Russia was working to aid Trump directly. But advancing Sanders’ candidacy could be seen as beneficial to Trump’s reelection prospects.

Trump tweeted sarcastically that Nevada Democrats, voting in Saturday’s caucuses, need to be careful of “Russia, Russia, Russia.”

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8:45 a.m.

A busload of volunteers for Pete Buttigieg is on its way to South Carolina from Indiana to knock on doors for him in the campaign for the Democratic presidential primary a week away.

His campaign says 18 volunteers are coming from South Bend and Gary to spread the word on the former South Bend mayor. They’ll also attend Sunday church services before heading back. Buttigieg and other contenders are in Nevada for that state’s caucuses Saturday.

The candidates are expected to spend much of the coming week campaigning in South Carolina for the last of the four early-voting contests. Their debate in Charleston on Tuesday will be the final one before that primary and the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.

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