.. the complicated balance Mr. Biden has attempted since leaving the vice presidency two years ago: between earning substantial wealth for the first time and maintaining viability as a potential 2020 presidential contender.
He has done so while building a network of nonprofits and academic centers that are staffed by his closest strategists and advisers, many making six figures while working on the issues most closely identified with him. It has effectively become a campaign-in-waiting, poised to metamorphose if the 76-year-old Mr. Biden announces his third bid for the presidency.
.. So long as a campaign remains possible, Mr. Biden has appeared mindful of the political backlash against the last Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, for earning millions by speaking to private interests in the run-up to 2016, and for her family foundation’s acceptance of huge sums from corporate and foreign donors.
He has imposed telling restrictions on his moneymaking and fund-raising activities: Mr. Biden does not speak for pay to corporate, advocacy or foreign groups and does not consult or sit on boards, said Bill Russo, his spokesman. His nonprofits do not accept contributions from abroad, and the Biden Cancer Initiative does not take money from drug companies, he said.
Yet Mr. Biden, whose blue-collar roots have been central to his political persona through six terms in the Senate and two as vice president, has accumulated millions of dollars through a lucrative book deal and selective paid speaking... Mr. Biden declined through his spokesman to be interviewed about his post-vice-presidency. But several people close to him emphasized that he had built his mini-empire not to prepare for 2020 but to make a continuing contribution on matters of longstanding concern.
“They planned a lot of this under the assumption that Hillary Clinton would be president of the United States,” said Sarah Bianchi, a former Biden policy aide who is now a paid senior adviser to the institute.
.. Mr. Biden has long been self-deprecating about his relative lack of wealth, compared with some politicians. He and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, left office with assets worth between $277,000 and $955,000 (not including their house near Wilmington, Del.), as well as a mortgage of $500,000 to $1 million and other smaller loans
.. they have very likely earned more in the two years since leaving office than in the prior two decades, thanks largely to a three-book deal with Flatiron Books reported to be worth $8 million
.. Two months after the contract was announced, they bought a six-bedroom vacation house in Rehoboth Beach, Del. — off the water — for $2.7 million. No mortgage was recorded.
.. Mr. Biden, who earned $230,700 a year as vice president, receives a hefty federal pension after 44 years of public service. The couple also receive about $66,000 a year in Social Security benefits and in other pension benefits paid to Dr. Biden
.. At the Biden Institute at Mr. Biden’s alma mater, the focus is on domestic issues including strengthening the middle class, gay and civil rights, and violence against women.
.. Administrators at both universities declined to provide budgets or salaries. Their presidents called Mr. Biden’s contributions invaluable, particularly in luring dignitaries to their campuses. “Among our strategic priorities is bringing Penn to the world and the world to Penn, and who better to do that?
Brad Parscale, the digital director of president’s 2016 campaign, will lead Trump’s unusually early re-election effort
President Donald Trump has chosen the digital director of his 2016 campaign to lead his 2020 re-election effort, further advancing an unusually early campaign process.
.. Mr. Trump formally filed to run for re-election on Inauguration Day last year, earlier than any president in modern history.
.. Mr. Parscale will take the reins of a campaign that has been active in the first year of a presidential administration, a historical oddity. The campaign last year raised $43 million—four times what former President Barack Obama raised in his first two years in office, a period when he wasn’t actively fundraising.
.. No president who has served under modern campaign finance laws that date back to President Jimmy Carter has held a re-election fundraiser before entering his third year in office
.. Mr. Parscale, a longtime web marketer, had never before worked on a presidential campaign before joining Mr. Trump in 2015.
.. Mr. Parscale was responsible for creating and placing ads on social-media platforms such as Facebook, developing the campaign’s website and driving online fundraising efforts.
For months, the White House under President Trump operated with few real rules, and those were barely enforced. People wandered into the Oval Office throughout the day. The president was given pieces of unvetted information, and found more on his own that he often tweeted out. Policy decisions were often based on whoever had last gotten Mr. Trump’s attention.
.. In two memos sent to the staff on Monday he began to detail his plan, starting with how he wants information to get to the president, and how Mr. Trump will respond.
.. Mr. Kelly’s predecessor, Reince Priebus, sent some similar guidelines around early in the administration, according to two officials, but they were never taken seriously. Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general, has been treated with a different level of deference
.. Mr. Kelly has made clear that one thing he will not seek to directly control is the behavior of the president, and there is a good reason for that.
.. Mr. Trump has a history of lashing out at advisers who have publicly conveyed their attempts to impose tighter procedures on him. Just before Election Day, for example, Mr. Trump blew up publicly after a New York Times report that his aides had succeeded in keeping him off Twitter for the final stages of the campaign. He tweeted several times to enforce the point.
.. Despite Mr. Kelly’s fairly deft touch at approaching the president, Mr. Trump has shown signs of rebelling
.. That included his news conference at Trump Tower in which he doubled down on his blame for “both sides” in the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va., and his campaign rally speech in Arizona
.. Mr. Kelly had urged Mr. Trump to deliver a more somber, traditional statement the day before. And he and other advisers had urged the president to avoid taking questions from the news media at Trump Tower, a request that the president ignored.
.. In one of the memos, White House aides were told that all materials prepared for the president must go first to Mr. Porter for vetting and clearance. Then Mr. Kelly must sign off on them before they go to Mr. Trump’s desk.
.. given the propensity for some of Mr. Trump’s staff to slip him news accounts from dubious sources that shape his thinking or prompt him to cite unreliable or inaccurate information.
.. Mr. Priebus had tried to take firmer control of that process after Mr. Trump’s first week in office, when Stephen K. Bannon, the recently departed chief strategist, and Stephen Miller, the president’s senior policy adviser, pushed across the president’s desk two orders redesigning the National Security Council, and putting in place the first, court-contested travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries.
.. That process is expected to curtail freelancing and hijacking of decisions by West Wing aides. Mr. Bannon was often accused of taking advantage of the loose process, but Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who both work in the West Wing, have also frustrated their colleagues for months by going directly to the president on specific issues.
.. “Let’s assume for the moment that Trump has learned the first big lesson of his first six months, which is that you have to empower the White House chief of staff to be a real gatekeeper,”
.. “What he hasn’t learned, what he has shown no sign of learning, is that governing is completely different from campaigning,” Mr. Whipple said.
In 1960, the Kremlin made a similar offer to support the candidacy of John F. Kennedy against Richard Nixon, but the Kennedy campaign rebuffed it. Likewise, when the Al Gore campaign in 2000 received confidential materials relating to the George W. Bush campaign, it called the F.B.I.
.. The Trumps insist that the president himself was unaware of the Russian offer. Yet the day after Trump Jr. received the first email and presumably had his phone conversation about the supposedly incriminating material, his father promised to give “a major speech” in which “we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”
.. That speech targeting Hillary Clinton didn’t take place. But on June 15, the first leak of stolen Democratic materials did.
.. Justice Department are exploring whether the Trump campaign digital operation — supervised by Kushner — helped guide Russia’s remarkably sophisticated efforts to use internet bots to target voters with fake news attacking Hillary Clinton.
.. James Comey, the ousted F.B.I. director, in testimony to Congress referred to the risk that this channel could “capture all of your conversations.” Gellman suggests that this may mean that Kushner sought mobile Russian scrambling equipment to take to Trump Tower.
.. Look, this is a murky, complicated issue. But this much we know: Kushner attended a secret meeting whose stated purpose was to advance a Kremlin effort to interfere in the U.S. election, he then failed to report it, and finally he sought a secret channel to communicate with the Kremlin.