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Politics Impeachment probe overshadows US 2020 Democratic race

11:50  13 october  2019
11:50  13 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

How Donald Trump impeachment inquiry will loom over Democratic debate

  How Donald Trump impeachment inquiry will loom over Democratic debate The biggest storyline of the Ohio debate revolves around how the candidates talk about the fast-moving impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Here are five ways the inquiry will loom large over the debate.

Joe Biden faces scrutiny over Ukraine, Elizabeth Warren is surging and Bernie Sanders had a heart attack, but recent developments in the Democratic presidential battle are getting minimal attention, swamped by Washington's impeachment obsession.

Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster'

  Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' Republicans are bracing for a high-stakes impeachment fight as soon as next month as a trial in the Senate looks all but inevitable. © Greg Nash Senate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' With House Democrats wading deeper into their ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump's interactions with Ukraine, GOP senators expect the House will ultimately pass articles of impeachment.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) already confirmed the Senate would hold a trial if the House's passes articles.

Most Democratic candidates are pounding the pavement in early voting states like Iowa, but they are finding little oxygen for the nomination race.

Broadcast and cable news have been dominated by a burgeoning Ukraine scandal that has engulfed the White House and prompted House Democrats to launch an impeachment investigation of possible abuse of power by Trump.

The drama threatens to overshadow what could be a pivotal moment in the Democratic nomination race: Tuesday's three-hour debate with the party's top 12 candidates.

The fourth showdown of the cycle will feature the Democratic dozen clashing on everything from health care and climate to jobs, gun control and foreign policy, as they seek to catch fire with voters.

Analysis: The impeachment inquiry is making Nancy Pelosi more popular.

  Analysis: The impeachment inquiry is making Nancy Pelosi more popular. Speakers usually lose popularity over time. Pelosi's bucking the trend.That’s not too surprising. Trump’s approval rating has been remarkably stable over his presidency’s 18 months. Moreover, it’s hard for the scandal to affect Trump supporters’ approval when most of his base either doesn’t think that the president asked Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden or thinks that doing so was appropriate.

Under normal circumstances the pre-debate chatter would center around whether Biden gets more aggressive against rising star Warren, if Sanders can rebound after health problems, or how second-tier candidates like Senator Kamala Harris or ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke can mount a comeback.

But talk of Trump's fate is the stark new reality, and for lesser Democratic candidates struggling for a breakout moment, their path to the nomination just got harder.

"There is a lot of this impeachment inquiry taking over the narrative, and we're going to see how these Democrats will be able to shape that to their advantage," Mitchell McKinney, director of the Political Communication Institute at University of Missouri, told AFP.

The candidate most impacted by the Ukraine crisis is Biden. A whistleblower complaint at the center of the inquiry alleged that Trump pressured Ukraine's leader on a July 25 call to investigate the US president's Democratic rival.

Impeachment inquiry shows Trump at the center of Ukraine efforts against rivals

  Impeachment inquiry shows Trump at the center of Ukraine efforts against rivals A growing body of evidence makes clear it was Trump himself who repeatedly pushed his own government and a foreign power to intervene in domestic political concerns.Over two weeks of closed-door testimony, a clear portrait has emerged of a president personally orchestrating the effort to pressure a foreign government to dig up dirt on a potential 2020 political rival — and marshaling the full resources of the federal bureaucracy to help in that endeavor.

Trump says he acted appropriately, but he has relentlessly hammered Biden and his son as "corrupt."

- Biden, Warren face attacks -

McKinney said Biden could flip the attention to his advantage, convincing voters that he's the Democrat Trump fears most in 2020.

Slideshow by photo services

"Biden must demonstrate his aggressiveness and ability to take on the issue of Donald Trump coming at him directly about him and his son," McKinney said.

He has. Saying Trump "betrayed this nation," Biden on Wednesday called for the president's impeachment for the first time.

"Let me make something clear to President Trump: I'm not going anywhere," he added Friday on Twitter. "You're not going to destroy me."

Warren called for Trump's impeachment months ago, perhaps signaling that, while Biden earlier hedged his bets, she recognized the urgency that a growing number of Democrats feel about ousting Trump.

The 70-year-old progressive senator has surged in recent weeks, drawing virtually even with Biden in polling -- and raising the likelihood that debate rivals will go after her.

Onstage Democrats may also pounce on Biden, and argue that his son's work for a Ukrainian energy company while Biden was vice president has at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The impeachment saga shook up the campaign trail for all candidates, and they have been recalibrating accordingly.

Sanders acknowledged as much on September 24, when the liberal senator who supports Trump's impeachment spoke of its risks.

"This is a complicated issue from a political point of view," Sanders told reporters in Davenport, Iowa.

One week later the 78-year-old suffered a mild heart attack, slowing his campaign just when he needed a fresh boost.

"I'm feeling great and we're going to run a vigorous campaign," Sanders told CNN Thursday.

The setback put the health and age of not only Sanders, but Biden -- who turns 77 next month and has been criticized for lacking vitality in debates -- into the spotlight.

Sanders must "convince voters that he's not out of it," and the debate is a chance to do that, McKinney said.

If he does not, and "if Warren is able to solidify... the progressive wing, we could see a continuation of her rise and a taking over of Joe Biden," he added.

While Warren has gained steam, the air has wheezed out of many low-polling candidates, who are grasping for anything to revive their flat-lining campaigns.

But the impeachment fracas could benefit one new face on stage: Tom Steyer.

The billionaire activist, making his debate debut Tuesday, has spent two years advocating for Trump's removal from office.

Analysis: Democrats Want to Impeach Trump. They Haven’t Decided Why. .
The articles of impeachment could be focused solely on Ukraine — or they could be a broader indictment of the president's wrongdoing.But while that decision helped quell years of frantic debate over whether and why and how Democrats might seek to remove the president, it also foreshadowed the coming battle among House Democrats about what the actual articles of impeachment should look like. Democrats seem to have made strides in their investigation in recent weeks, but they still have this major hurdle to resolve — a hurdle that could have significant implications not just for the success of the inquiry, but for Democrats’ ability to keep control of the House in 2020.

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