Here’s what you need to know in politics this week…

  • Can the new gun control push sustain momentum?
  • Dems blast New Hampshire governor’s gun law veto
  • Senator demands Epstein investigation 
  • Sanders says Trump “doesn’t want to see people mowed down” 
  • Warren releases gun control plan

CAN DEMS SUSTAIN THE NEW GUN CONTROL PUSH?

Via political director Caitlin Conant and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe: More than a week since the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, can the national focus and debate on gun control policy sustain itself? Or will something else come along to serve as the next hot issue of concern?

Over the weekend, 16 Democratic presidential candidates appeared at a forum hastily-arranged by Everytown for Gun Safety, the umbrella organization for groups pushing for stricter gun laws bankrolled by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. 

In an interview that aired on Sunday’s Face the Nation, Bloomberg told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan that he was “optimistic” about background check legislation passing Congress, but also noted that it “depends on Mitch McConnell bringing a bill to the floor in the Senate and it still depends on the President of the United States signing a bill.”

New gun control laws require momentum, and with Congress in recess and President Trump away from D.C. this week, will the 2020 Democratic candidates be able to effectively keep the pressure on Republicans and keep the issue on the minds of voters in the coming days with no big forum or immediate example of gun violence?

Evidence of how it might keep up came early Sunday, when former HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced plans for his tenth visit to Iowa this week and said he will attend “a town hall on his plan to disarm hate by combating white nationalism and gun violence.”

The forum is being held in North Liberty, Iowa, a relatively new and young bedroom community, certainly by Iowa standards, that is especially popular with young couples and families in the state’s more liberal eastern side. The event is being sponsored by a local chapter of Moms Demand Action, one of the groups that sponsored the weekend gun violence forum in Des Moines.

2020 DEMS BLAST NEW HAMPSHIRE GUN LAW VETO

Via CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga: New Hampshire’s Republican governor just vetoed a new gun control measure, and Democratic presidential candidates are not happy. Sen. Cory Booker denounced New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of gun violence prevention legislation Friday.

“Our nation’s patchwork of state gun laws is failing, which is why bills passed by New Hampshire Democrats represented significant progress — not just for New Hampshire, but for the entire region,” Booker said in a statement. “But by vetoing commonsense solutions that would keep communities safe, Governor Sununu shamefully put the corporate gun lobby ahead of mothers and fathers and children who fear that the next tragedy will find them.”

The package of three bills were sent to the Governor’s desk following mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, tragedies that collectively took the lives of 31 victims while injuring dozens more.

After axing the bills, Governor Sununu released a statement, writing in part, “Our focus as a nation must be on addressing the root causes of hate and violence. Here in New Hampshire, we have taken multiple steps to address our mental health needs and to build a more welcoming and tolerant state.”

Firing back on twitter, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke also weighed into the Granite State debate. 

“There’s ‘evil’ in every country, Governor,” O’Rourke wrote. “America is different because we’re the only country with more guns than people.”

SASSE DEMANDS EPSTEIN INVESTIGATION

Via CBS News digital reporter Grace Segers: Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr Saturday afternoon demanding the Department of Justice investigate Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide in jail. Sasse also called for those who allowed Epstein’s death to occur under their watch to be fired. 

Epstein, who was facing federal sex trafficking charges, died Saturday in an apparent suicide, federal officials said. The Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement that the FBI was investigating his death.

“The Department of Justice failed, and today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal. Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” the Republican senator wrote in his letter to Barr. 

SANDERS: TRUMP DOESN’T WANT “TO SEE PEOPLE MOWED DOWN AND KILLED”

Via CBS News digital report Camilo Montoya-Galvez: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders blasted President Trump for fostering “divisiveness” with his rhetoric, but stressed he does not believe the president wants to see people be killed in mass shootings like the recent ones in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio

“President Trump and nobody else wants to see people mowed down and killed, and I’ve never said that. He does not want to see that,” Sanders said on “Face the Nation” Sunday. 

Nevertheless, the Vermont independent suggested — like many Democrats have — that Mr. Trump’s fiery rhetoric emboldens people prone to carrying out violent acts because of racial animus. 

“I think he creates a climate where we are seeing a significant increase in hate crimes in this country, hate crimes against Muslims, against Mexicans, against Jews,” Sanders added. “He is creating the kind of divisiveness in this nation that is the last thing that we should be doing. So he creates the climate.”

WARREN RELEASES GUN CONTROL PLAN

Via CBS News Campaign Reporter Zak Hudak: Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Saturday released an ambitious plan to combat gun violence that combines executive orders and congressional action with the aim of to reducing gun deaths by 80%. The plan comes amid renewed calls for gun control one week after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left more than 30 dead. 

Warren released the plan shortly before joining the majority of other Democratic candidates at the Iowa Gun Sense forum in Des Moines. Although Warren’s Medium page lists dozens of posts about policy proposes, the plan proposed Saturday is her first full plan to tackle gun violence. 

Warren joined other candidates earlier this week in blaming President Trump’s divisive rhetoric for inspiring the El Paso shooting suspect, and on Friday, she called on Walmart to stop selling guns. But until Saturday, gun control and health care stood as the largest issues Warren hadn’t addressed with a detailed plan.

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL THIS WEEK

8/12 – Bennet in IA; Booker in NY; Harris in IA; Sanders in NH; Sestak in IA

8/13 – Buttigieg in IA; Castro in IA; Sanders in NH; Sestak in IA

8/14 – Buttigieg in IA; Castro in IA; Delaney in IA; Moulton in MO & IA; Warren in NH

8/15 – Buttigieg in IA; Delaney in IA; Moulton in IA & MN; Yang in SC

8/16 – Biden in DE, Booker in GA; Bullock in NH; Castro in GA; Delaney in NH; Moulton in IA; Yang in NH

8/17 – Biden in MA; Booker in NH; Castro in NH; Moulton in IA; Warren in GA & SC

8/18 – Biden in MA; Castro in NH; Harris in NY

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