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Politics ‘The grand finale’: Inside Trump’s push to rack up political victories as impeachment looms

04:10  15 december  2019
04:10  15 december  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

GOP resolution looks to block Dem candidates from Senate impeachment trial

  GOP resolution looks to block Dem candidates from Senate impeachment trial Congressional Republicans want to require Senate Democrats running for president to recuse themselves from a possible impeachment trial against President Trump.

Trump and his allies trumpet the victories as the work of a disciplined president focusing on the And he sees impeachment as perhaps “the best episode, the grand finale ” of a reality show presidency Support for Trump ’ s impeachment and removal also remains split largely along partisan lines, at 47

Congress is investigating allegations that President Trump pushed a foreign government to dig up dirt on his And Mr. Trump ’ s allies mostly took it as a sign that a vote on articles of impeachment was “Democrats can’t beat President Trump on his policies or his stellar record of accomplishment, so

On Tuesday, President Trump and House Democrats announced a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. On Wednesday, the House passed a military authorization package that included paid parental leave for more than 2 million federal workers and the creation of the president’s proposed Space Force. And on Thursday, top congressional negotiators unveiled a deal in principle to approve a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill for 2020 that will likely avert a government shutdown next week.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: President Trump speaks during a meeting with Paraguay president Mario Abdo Benítez in the Oval Office at the White House on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Trump speaks during a meeting with Paraguay president Mario Abdo Benítez in the Oval Office at the White House on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.

By Friday, even as the House Judiciary Committee passed two articles of impeachment against Trump, the president had begun telling allies that maybe impeachment wasn’t so bad after all.

McConnell: Senate won't take up impeachment trial before Christmas

  McConnell: Senate won't take up impeachment trial before Christmas McConnell and Schumer have yet to negotiate an agreement on the trial.“What is not possible obviously would be to turn to an impeachment trial or to do [the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement] in the Senate before we break for Christmas,” McConnell told reporters, while outlining the Senate’s agenda for the rest of the year.

The House Judiciary Committee will convene Thursday morning to debate two articles of impeachment against President Trump , the final step before Democrats bring them to the House floor for an expected vote next week to charge the president with high crimes and misdemeanors.

RHINEBECK, N.Y. — On a recent Friday, as impeachment investigators were releasing new evidence of President Trump ’ s pressure campaign on Ukraine and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser

All week, in fact, at White House holiday parties and in phone calls with allies, Trump privately mused about trying to prolong the impeachment process because he says it helps his reelection prospects.

“It’s a very sad thing for our country, but it seems to be very good for me politically,” Trump told reporters Friday, seated next to the president of Paraguay in the Oval Office.

Even as he faces the largest crisis of his presidency — poised to become only the third president to be impeached — Trump joined with Democrats over the past week in a frenzy of agreements and deals that amounts to a kind of counterimpeachment campaign. He and his allies trumpet the victories as the work of a disciplined president continuing to focus on the needs of the public, while Democrats argue they have forced Trump to hand over sweeping concessions on liberal priorities.

Trump's approval dips among independent voters amid impeachment

  Trump's approval dips among independent voters amid impeachment President Trump’s approval rating dipped among independent voters as Democrats move forward on impeachment, according to the latest Hill-HarrisX poll released Tuesday. © Greg Nash Trump's approval dips among independent voters amid impeachment The survey shows 39 percent of independent voters approve of Trump's job performance, while 56 percent said they disapprove.© Provided by The Hill The new approval rating among independent voters is down from 44 percent in early November.Trump's job approval rating also saw a dip among Republican voters, dropping 3 points to 85 percent compared to the previous poll.

impeach Mr. Trump next week, both sides seemed to sense that political vandalism had It wasn’t just that the committee eventually voted to approve two articles of impeachment , charging Mr. Trump with abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress. They knew it was being held up .”

Mr Trump , it says, “directed the unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its Those stark electoral numbers are unique to this impeachment , and a level of partisanship as marked as today’ s is historically unusual.

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This burst of bipartisan comity is slated to continue in the coming week, with the expected House impeachment vote on Wednesday sandwiched between final passage of the spending and trade deals, along with Senate approval of the massive military package.

The holiday legislative tableau has emboldened Trump. He has suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is embarrassed by the impeachment inquiry. He has said he believes the trial in the Republican-controlled Senate — where he is expected to be acquitted of the House charges — could be beneficial to him.

And he sees impeachment as perhaps “the best episode, the grand finale” of a reality show presidency, in the words of one longtime confidante who talked with Trump this week and who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly summarize the president’s perspective.

House vows to continue impeachment probes regardless of Senate outcome

  House vows to continue impeachment probes regardless of Senate outcome The House general counsel argues that the House’s demands for grand jury materials could be relevant to the Senate’s expected impeachment trial.In a filing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, House General Counsel Douglas Letter argued that the House’s demands for grand jury materials connected to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation were still urgent because such evidence might become relevant to the Senate’s expected impeachment trial next month.

Thursday to push President Trump to the brink of impeachment , turning back Republican attempts to kill the articles of impeachment in a fractious “The Democrats are going to pay a heavy political price for it, but the Pandora’ s box they have opened today will do irreparable injury to our country in

Trump pressed Ukraine' s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to open investigations into rival Democrats, particularly Joe Biden, who could become the party' s "This abuse of office served to cover up the president' s own repeated misconduct and to seize and control the power of impeachment -- and thus

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie in front of a crowd: President Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, U.S., December 10, 2019.© Tom Brenner/Reuters President Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, U.S., December 10, 2019.

At the same time, Trump also has made clear he recognizes the permanent stain that impeachment will imprint on his legacy, railing against the inquiry as “flimsy, pathetic, ridiculous” and “impeachment light” at a campaign rally in Hershey, Pa., on Tuesday. He thrums between fury and frustration — pecking out tweets at a rapid-fire clip, including a record 123 on Thursday alone — and boasting about his accomplishments.

“The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt — that’s the reason they approved USMCA,” Trump said in Hershey, several hours after the trade deal with Mexico and Canada was announced. “So that’s okay with me because they approved it and they’re very happy to have it.”

Trump’s approval rating has barely budged during the impeachment inquiry, remaining mired in the low 40s as it has throughout most of his presidency, according to a Washington Post average of public polls. Support for Trump’s impeachment and removal also remains split largely along partisan lines, at 47 percent to 45 percent, polling shows.

McConnell opposes impeachment witnesses now -- but supported them during Clinton trial

  McConnell opposes impeachment witnesses now -- but supported them during Clinton trial Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is arguing against witnesses giving testimony in the expected impeachment trial of President Donald Trump -- but he had a different view in 1999 when he advocated for a request by Republican House impeachment managers to have witnesses testify in the case against then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. © Olivier/Pool/Getty Images US President Donald Trump (L) talks to the press as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) looks on after the Republican luncheon at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. "There have been 15 impeachments in the history of the country.

President Trump wrapped up a dizzying week of wins and a historic rebuke as he clinched support for his USMCA trade pact and reached a limited deal WASHINGTON—Even for a presidency defined by stark contrasts, President Trump ’ s week was one of political whiplash, bouncing from legislative

For Mr. Trump , the impeachment battle has become the defining test of his presidency, weighing him down and charging him up all at once. Other presidents facing impeachment strove to hide how much it weighed on them, even as they brooded and raged in private.

The president is deeply concerned about the impact of impeachment on his legacy, but sees the blitz of policy accomplishments as a possible counter, according to one Trump adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. In a Monday phone call with Cabinet members, Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser — urged officials to start planning for top priority events in 2020 that they hope to have Trump to attend to showcase his achievements.

Allies and observers say the spate of year-end deals are a boon for Trump heading into his reelection campaign.

“This has been a productive week and it should be an early warning sign of the way it can be for the next few months,” said Scott Reed, senior political strategist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Did impeachment prompt it? I can’t really tell, but impeachment has brought a whole new level of serious, and it’s a good time to start hitting your stride.”

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, attacked “Do-Nothing Democrats” in an email statement and wrote that Trump “remains focused on the work of the American people, and this week’s unprecedented accomplishments prove that.”

Trump appears resilient as he faces the ‘very ugly word’ of impeachment

  Trump appears resilient as he faces the ‘very ugly word’ of impeachment President Trump’s ability to exist — and even thrive — amid historic tumult has worried Democrats and buoyed his supporters.Unbowed and unapologetic, Trump is charging through impeachment much as he has wrestled with previous crises in his presidency — attacking his perceived enemies, spinning falsehoods, promising vengeance and firing off tweets, all while cycling between fits of indignation and bouts of confidence and good cheer.

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry in response to the dispute over Mr. Trump ’ s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Trump is expected to become the third U.S. president to be impeached when the full Democratic-led House votes on the charges, likely next week, setting up a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. Trump ’ s fellow Republicans have shown no signs of wanting to remove Trump from office.

“President Trump has accomplished more at this point in his first term than any President in history,” he wrote. “His policies are building a safer, stronger, and more secure America that will last for generations.”

Jimmy Gomez, Jim Himes looking at the camera: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gestures during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement on Capitol Hill on Dec. 10, 2019.© Yuri Gripas/Reuters House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gestures during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement on Capitol Hill on Dec. 10, 2019.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, according to people involved in the deliberations, finally came together following a confluence of factors, including a narrow window at the end of the year to accomplish anything before heading into the 2020 election cycle and an eagerness on both sides for clear achievements.

Administration officials and Republicans said many House Democrats, squeezed to show tangible results amid an impeachment inquiry in which public opinion remains largely divided on partisan lines, were more amenable to working with the White House.

“The president wants victories — I’m not going to say he doesn’t — but the timing of it is far more about the Democrats feeling pressured because a lot of these things the president negotiated long ago,” said Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence.

White House aides also say the administration has long been laying the groundwork for bipartisan dealmaking. The White House Office of Legislative Affairs viewed the 31 House Democrats in districts that Trump won as “natural partners” for the president’s priorities, a senior administration official said. In promoting the trade deal, Pence visited roughly two dozen swing districts to try to pressure vulnerable Democrats to support the agreement.

'Impeachment will be their legacy': House erupts during Scalise speech ripping Democrats

  'Impeachment will be their legacy': House erupts during Scalise speech ripping Democrats Democrats erupted in the House chamber after GOP Rep. Steve Scalise accused them of pushing forward on impeachment because they "hate" the nearly 63 million Americans that voted for President Trump. © Provided by Washington ExaminerScalise delivered his remarks on the House floor Wednesday during the debate leading up to a vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump. Scalise defended the president and accused Democrats of impeaching Trump over policy disagreements and for personal reasons."You don’t impeach a president because you don’t like his foreign policy," Scalise said.

Divided lawmakers approved articles of impeachment charging US President Donald Trump with abusing the power of his office over the Ukraine U. S . President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he meets with Paraguay' s President Mario Abdo Benitez in the Oval Office at the White House in

By Susan Cornwell. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U. S . House of Representatives on Friday took Republican President Donald Trump to the brink of impeachment by approving two charges against him over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic political rival Joe

“The places the vice president went were very intentional, and that’s been going on for six months,” Short said.

That Trump was not personally involved in many of the trade negotiations also helped with the final deal, said two administration officials, including one who said the talks were most successful during the periods when Trump refrained from tweeting about the issue. Pelosi worked with U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer as the administration’s point person.

Democrats, by contrast, say the deal materialized because they extracted nearly every concession they wanted from the administration, including strong enforcement mechanisms. As Pelosi told her members during a closed-door meeting immediately before announcing the agreement, “We ate their lunch.”

Some Republicans, especially those committed to conservative trade policies, agree. “The only reason Pelosi moved on USMCA is because she took Lighthizer, flipped him upside down, and shook all the money out of him and destroyed him,” said one Republican leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment.

Mike Pence, Donald Trump are posing for a picture: President Trump, flanked by Vice President Pence, speaks during a roundtable on empowering families with education choice in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Trump, flanked by Vice President Pence, speaks during a roundtable on empowering families with education choice in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019.

This person added: “Democrats won on substance; Trump won on the politics of USMCA. And that’s because Trump doesn’t care about substance.”

On Friday, Trump also tweeted news of what he called a “very large” and “amazing” first phase of a trade deal with China. As part of the agreement, the president has agreed to scale back some tariffs, while China has promised to purchase more U.S. farm products and increase its intellectual property protections.

Economic advisers argued to the president that new tariffs set to go in place Sunday would have hurt the United States as well as China — and that it was not a helpful story line during the holiday season (and during impeachment) when Trump wants the markets to climb.

Students take on impeachment debate with patience and civility

  Students take on impeachment debate with patience and civility Unlike some in Washington, there's no name-calling or grandstanding. Instead there's patience and civility. Downey told her students it's OK for them to differ in their opinions."I think we have to start having conversations with people like they are people. We have to stop treating people like they are just a political party," Sanchez said.It's an important lesson for us all.

Republicans have defended Trump and accused Democrats of a politically motivated farce aimed at overturning his surprise 2016 presidential election victory . “ Impeachment is a hoax. It’ s a sham,” Trump told reporters at the White House after the committee’ s vote. “There was nothing done wrong.

Though the text of the China deal had not yet been released Friday, Trump had already begun calling around to say it was a “historic” deal, said Michael Pillsbury, an expert at the Hudson Institute who spoke to Trump on Thursday.

“Amazing to me to see the Chinese officials do a television press conference this morning to agree with the trade deal and ask that phase two be started immediately,” Pillsbury said. “The tariffs seem to work.”

The slew of deals and announcements, at the very least, allowed Trump to mount a much-needed victory march. And though vulnerable Democrats may reap some political benefit, some in the party remained torn about helping to boost Trump in the process.

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Trump speaks during a meeting with Paraguay president Mario Abdo Benítez in the Oval Office at the White House on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.© Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Trump speaks during a meeting with Paraguay president Mario Abdo Benítez in the Oval Office at the White House on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.

“There’s a real philosophical disagreement within the Democratic Party about whether giving Trump big political wins either proves they’re willing to make a deal, or if they’re just empowering Trump,” said Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible, a liberal advocacy group.

At a briefing with reporters Thursday in Arlington, Va., Trump campaign officials struck a buoyant tone, with Kushner, campaign manager Brad Parscale and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel arguing that the president was in a strong position amid impeachment.

“This lit up our base, lit up the people that are supporters of the president,” Parscale said. “They’re frustrated, they’re upset, and that motivates voters.”

By Friday, sitting next to Paraguay’s president, Mario Abdo Benítez, Trump offered to take questions from the media after opening with a single understatement: “This has been a wild week.”

ashley.parker@washpost.com

josh.dawsey@washpost.com

Jeff Stein and Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

Students take on impeachment debate with patience and civility .
Unlike some in Washington, there's no name-calling or grandstanding. Instead there's patience and civility. Downey told her students it's OK for them to differ in their opinions."I think we have to start having conversations with people like they are people. We have to stop treating people like they are just a political party," Sanchez said.It's an important lesson for us all.

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