US election 2020: What to expect in Democratic debates

Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker

The first Democratic debates are like the opening round of a golf tournament. There's no way to win the prize right now, but plenty of ways to lose it for good.

The candidates, their visions and their plans will be put in the crucible on Wednesday and Thursday night. There will be more tests to come, but this is the first real chance to see how they hold up under pressure.

Here are five things to keep in mind as we settle in for the opening volleys of what is going to be a very long campaign season.

Big night for Warren

While the second debate night is getting most of the press, the first presents an interesting opportunity for the participants. Elizabeth Warren is the hot candidate right now, but this isn't the World Cup. There are no easy draws. The other candidates will have plenty of chances to make an impression in the two-hour proceedings.

Unlike the Republican "kids' table" debates four years ago that were largely ignored, the national media will be covering the event in full and looking for storylines beyond "Warren has plans".

Read full article US election 2020: What to expect in Democratic debates

Bernie Sanders: What’s different this time around?

Sanders with young fans Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sanders scores high with under-30s

In 2016 Bernie Sanders arrived on the Democratic presidential scene with all the surprise of a thunderclap in a blue sky.

He set fundraising records, drew rally crowds of tens of thousands and, for a time, cast the once-seemingly inevitable nomination of Hillary Clinton in doubt.

Read full article Bernie Sanders: What’s different this time around?

Florida supporters on why they want Trump to win in 2020

A man holds up a sign as the crowd waits for US President Donald Trump to arrive at a rally at the Amway Center in Orlando Image copyright AFP
Image caption Thousands of fans were packed into Orlando's Amway Center

On Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida, Donald Trump "officially" kicked off his presidential re-election bid.

Of course, everyone knew he was going to run for re-election. That was hardly a surprise. He filed his 2020 paperwork the day after his January 2017 inauguration, and he's been holding regular campaign-style rallies across key battleground states ever since.

Read full article Florida supporters on why they want Trump to win in 2020

Donald Trump impeachment debate: What will Democrats do?

An impeachment sign is held up near the US Capitol. Image copyright Getty Images

Ever since Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation concluded in March, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been walking a fine line on initiating impeachment proceedings against the president.

She says she wants to keep all options open, with an array of congressional investigations, but hold off on the "i" word, as Donald Trump calls it.

Read full article Donald Trump impeachment debate: What will Democrats do?

Robert Mueller statement: What special counsel really meant

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRobert Mueller: Charging Donald Trump "was not an option"

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Robert Mueller statement is worth a 448-page report.

For the first time in his more than two years as special counsel, Mueller has spoken publicly about his investigation.

Read full article Robert Mueller statement: What special counsel really meant

Abortion in US: What surprise Supreme Court ruling means

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe abortion battle explained in three minutes

In a surprise move, the Supreme Court has issued a pair of decisions on an Indiana law restricting abortions, offering clues on how the nine-member court - with two new justices appointed by Donald Trump - could view the contentious issue in the days and years ahead.

The court's actions were a mixed bag for those on both sides of the abortion debate.

Read full article Abortion in US: What surprise Supreme Court ruling means

Joe Biden: Can Obama's vice-president stay the Democratic frontrunner?

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJoe Biden: Will it be third time lucky in 2020?

It's been four weeks since Joe Biden announced he was running for president. Since then, in defiance of what was conventional wisdom, he's risen in the polls, posted impressive fund-raising numbers and seemingly shrugged off allegations of inappropriate physical contact with women.

The candidate many thought to be a paper tiger, temporarily buoyed by high name recognition and little else, has shown some teeth.

Read full article Joe Biden: Can Obama's vice-president stay the Democratic frontrunner?

Mueller report: Five looming legal battles between Congress and Trump

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionWhy no charge of obstruction of justice? A law professor breaks down the legal questions

On 1 May the US attorney general spent five acrimonious hours in front of a congressional committee explaining his handling of the Mueller report. The intensity of some of the exchanges suggests multiple legal and political battles lie ahead between the Democrats in Congress and President Donald Trump.

A day after Attorney General William Barr traded blows with senators, the stakes ramped up considerably as he refused to testify to another committee and the Democratic leadership accused him of lying under oath.

Read full article Mueller report: Five looming legal battles between Congress and Trump

William Barr: Five questions for US attorney general

Attorney General Bill Barr testifies before a Senate committee in April. Image copyright Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr has returned Capitol Hill for the first time since his justice department released a redacted version of the Mueller report into 2016 Russian election meddling. Democrats have been waiting impatiently to grill him.

The attorney general spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and is due to address the equivalent House committee on Thursday - although there's ongoing dispute over the format of the latter hearing. (Democrats want to have a staff lawyer conduct extended questioning outside of each member's five-minute allotted time.)

Read full article William Barr: Five questions for US attorney general

US election 2020: The Democratic White House race - in five charts

Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders Image copyright Reuters, EPA, Getty
Image caption Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders

With Joe Biden's entry into the presidential race, the Democratic field is essentially set. He may be the new frontrunner, raising $6.3m in the first 24 hours of his campaign, but he still has some catching up do in the money stakes. So who's raising the most cash?

At the end of March the candidates reached a key early benchmark - the end of the first quarter of 2019 fund-raising.

Read full article US election 2020: The Democratic White House race - in five charts