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Politics How Trump's impeachment could trip up 2020 Democrats as they sprint toward Iowa

07:40  19 december  2019
07:40  19 december  2019 Source:   latimes.com

Trump on brink of impeachment as House readies historic vote

  Trump on brink of impeachment as House readies historic vote WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is on the cusp of being impeached by the House, with a historic debate set Wednesday on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress ahead of votes that will leave a defining mark on his tenure at the White House. Trump, who would be just the third U.S. president to be impeached, on Tuesday fired off a furious letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi denouncing the “vicious crusade” against him, but he also acknowledged he was powerless to stop the expected outcome.

If some Republican senators emerged from President Donald Trump ' s impeachment acquittal optimistic he'd learned important lessons of presidential behavior, he was happy on Wednesday to offer a different takeaway.

News that Democrats have commenced impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump was greeted with mixed reaction in Iowa ’ s capital, Des “I think it’ s about time they started on it and hopefully things will progress as they should,” she said. Outside a Marriott hotel, Daryl Washington, a

Video by CBS News

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is set to become the first president to be impeached and go on to pursue a second term after Wednesday’s vote in the U.S. House.

But the aftermath of the historic congressional rebuke may ultimately bear a bigger impact on the immediate state of the Democratic primary than a general election that’s more than 10 months away.

Trump’s impeachment trial, which is expected to take place in January, could inject unprecedented uncertainty into an already fluid Democratic campaign, causing a logistical nightmare for some senators and forcing candidates to contend with an attention-hogging process at the moment they’re making their final pitches in early-voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.

With Trump impeachment vote imminent, president traveling to Battle Creek, Mich., to rally the faithful

  With Trump impeachment vote imminent, president traveling to Battle Creek, Mich., to rally the faithful President Trump on Wednesday will be far away from Capitol Hill as the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives prepares to impeach him.Instead, the president will be on friendly turf in downtown Battle Creek, Mich., hosting a rally that may rank among his most defiant — a marked contrast from the approach of former President Bill Clinton, who mostly stayed under the radar during his own impeachment proceedings in 1998.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in New York last month. She has argued that Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump .Credit Gabriella Angotti-Jones for The New York Times.

Trump Impeachment Results: How Democrats and Republicans Voted. See how each senator will vote on whether to convict and remove President Trump from office. Keep up with Election 2020 . Democratic leaders immediately insisted the result was illegitimate, the product of a self-interested

“If I’m running the Iowa campaign of one of the candidates in the Senate, the looming impeachment trial would be my worst nightmare,” said David Kochel, a Republican operative who ran Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns in the state. “It’s like going into the Super Bowl without your MVP quarterback.”

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What’s more, some Democrats argue that a wall-to-wall airing of Trump’s alleged misdeeds creates fewer opportunities for dramatic shifts in a nationalized primary race.

The central question before senators will be whether the president abused his power by soliciting a Ukrainian investigation intended to harm one of his top potential political opponents, Joe Biden. In a now infamous July phone call, Trump asked the president of Ukraine to “look into” Biden’s son Hunter, who sat on the board of an energy company there.

Small group of Democrats floats censure instead of impeachment

  Small group of Democrats floats censure instead of impeachment It's an unlikely outcome, but it underscores lingering angst among some moderates.Those Democrats, all representing districts that Trump won in 2016, huddled on Monday afternoon in an 11th-hour bid to weigh additional — though unlikely — options to punish the president for his role in the Ukraine scandal as the House speeds toward an impeachment vote next week.

Impeachment could boost the clearest pro- impeachment candidates. Impeachment will suck up all the oxygen. On Tuesday, Sanders proposed an “extreme wealth tax” on the highest-income Buttigieg toured Iowa aboard his own version of John McCain’ s legendary Straight Talk Express.

Democratic caucus in the 2020 election. Main article: 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. However, Iowans who did not register as Democrats before the caucus day could still register as such on Up until February 4 at 4:00 pm local time, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) had

But there’s disagreement over whether the concerted attention heaped on Biden would be politically beneficial to the former vice president.

“The likeliest scenario is that this whole process benefits Joe Biden,” said Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist who worked on Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. “We’ll be talking about Joe Biden every day of impeachment and it’ll allow him to take advantage of that and to keep himself front and center in the news.”

Rosenberg sees the Biden campaign as seizing an opportunity “where they dominate the Democratic discussion,” by highlighting how Trump’s actions demonstrate the political threat Biden presents.

But Grant Woodard, an Iowa Democrat who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign, said he believes the Biden campaign likely wants to avoid responding to allegations of corruption, regardless of their merits.

Inside impeachment: How an 'urgent' tip became 'high crimes'

  Inside impeachment: How an 'urgent' tip became 'high crimes' Not a single Republican voted for President Donald Trump's impeachment, but there were moments when that outcome was less than certainFor Democrats, it was an instant bombshell, a “jaw-hit-the-floor sort of moment,” one lawmaker said. Another described sneaking peeks at Republican colleagues to see whether they were having a similar reaction.

“Republicans claiming that Joe and Hunter were crooked over and over is not going to be helpful for the campaign. You’re just going to be constantly hearing them cast allegations that Biden tried to use his influence,” Woodard said. “If I were the Biden campaign, I don’t think I’d want anyone to be talking about that. It gets people wondering, is this Hillary Clinton 2.0?”

While the Biden campaign has not conducted formal research on how an impeachment trial would impact the primary, advisers to senators running for president have begun formulating contingency plans.

“We’ll have surrogates. If we have to fly the senator out to states to do events at night and fly him back for him to be there the next morning, we’ll do that,” said Jeff Weaver, the chief strategist for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign also plans to send surrogates to early states, and is looking at holding tele-town halls, Skype calls and other virtual events.

In addition to Booker and Sanders, three other sitting senators — Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet — may be sidelined from the trail for the most crucial weeks before the Iowa caucuses. Early voting will start in other states even sooner. It’s a scenario that Sanders himself acknowledged last month “would make our life a little bit more difficult.”

There is an emerging possibility, however, that the Senate trial could be pushed back. Some liberal House Democrats are reportedly urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate as leverage to negotiate more favorable terms for the trial. Pelosi left that option on the table at a news conference Wednesday.

Pastors, worship leaders pray for Trump in Oval Office amid impeachment fight

  Pastors, worship leaders pray for Trump in Oval Office amid impeachment fight Prominent Christian pastors and worship leaders prayed over President Trump in the Oval Office last week.About 50 worship leaders from across America gathered for a faith briefing Friday organized by Paula White-Cain, the president's personal pastor and special adviser to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative in the White House.

“We’ll decide what that dynamic is, but we hope the resolution of that process will be soon in the Senate,” Pelosi said when asked about potentially withholding the articles of impeachment, adding that she “never raised the prospect.”

If the Senate trial occurs in January, that would leave Biden and Pete Buttigieg as the two major contenders free to do the most uninterrupted retail campaigning. Two of the last three Iowa polls show Buttigieg with an advantage.

Still, an aide to one senator running for president suggested it could be advantageous to earn prime-time cable TV interview slots as a player in such a historic proceeding. After all, November’s impeachment hearings drew an average of 12 million daily viewers, roughly double the number of people who watched the fifth Democratic debate.

“We just don’t know how much caucusgoers are going to be tuning in to impeachment,” the aide confessed.

During the impeachment trial itself, senators will not have their typical opportunities for grandstanding, as they are not allowed to speak on the Senate floor. They may, however, submit written questions to counsel or any witnesses that are called.

There is some ambiguity in the Senate rules about whether senators’ vow of silence, which they swear under oath, extends beyond the Senate floor for the duration of the trial. The rules also do not explicitly state senators must attend the trial the whole time, although George Washington University political science professor Sarah Binder said there is precedent for compelling senators to be there.

As legal experts Hilary Hurd and Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare point out, it’s up to the Senate majority to flesh out those details.

The 1999 impeachment trial of Bill Clinton ran five weeks from January through February, when the Senate voted to acquit the president on two counts. Barring unforeseen developments, Trump is also expected to be acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Hillary Clinton cheers impeachment, says Trump ‘waging war’ against democracy

  Hillary Clinton cheers impeachment, says Trump ‘waging war’ against democracy Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swiftly gave her public support to articles of impeachment against her former political rival.Clinton called the impeachment push necessary for defending democracy.

While some GOP senators briefly flirted with the notion of a prolonged trial to meddle with the Democratic campaigns, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now appears more likely to facilitate a speedy trial in order to avoid a spectacle that could endanger vulnerable members of his own caucus.

“It’s out of our control,” said Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon. “The majority leader has said he’s coordinating with the defendant. He can put forward a motion at any point to dismiss the case. If he has 51 votes, he can do it. So it’s going to depend upon the Republican caucus, whether they demand a fair and just examination or they decide to whitewash this whole thing on a political basis.”

Democratic presidential candidates have largely avoided the topic on the campaign trail and are rarely asked about it by voters. A Biden campaign adviser sees a parallel between impeachment and the rancorous Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh, which served to galvanize conservatives as much as it fueled Democratic fury.

“Right now it is having a mini-Kavanaugh effect,” said the Biden adviser. “But that may very well dissipate in time and when the Dems start communicating late summer on key issues.”

Even if impeachment throws the Democratic primary into flux, its effect could be more fleeting in a general election where many voters have already made up their minds on Trump. By Election Day, partisan polarization will be heightened even further and the magnitude of the moment will have faded.

“It’s going to have little or no effect on the election in November,” said Jim Doyle, former Democratic governor of Wisconsin. “By the time we get to November and go through a presidential campaign, it will be a lot more about who people want to be president and not how people are angry or not about impeachment.”

Doyle and other political veterans said their view is bolstered by the fact that public opinion is largely unmoved since the impeachment process started. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 49% of adults supported impeaching and removing the president from office, the same share who supported impeachment when the survey was conducted in October. And a recent CNN poll found a plurality (37 percent) of adults believed impeachment would make “no difference” on Trump’s reelection.

Trump’s approval numbers have also remained mostly stable during the impeachment inquiry, though they have shown a slight uptick in surveys released this week.

“It looks like the impeachment process has not moved public opinion one way or another,” said Jason Altmire, a former Democratic congressman from western Pennsylvania. “People are dug in, and they have their minds made up.”

Other Democratic strategists unaffiliated with 2020 campaigns insist that any general election message against Trump should be rooted in pocketbook criticisms of his policy agenda.

“I would be really surprised if next October, when we’re really getting down to it in the presidential campaign, that’s there’s that much talk of impeachment,” Doyle said.

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©2019 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

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Hillary Clinton cheers impeachment, says Trump ‘waging war’ against democracy .
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton swiftly gave her public support to articles of impeachment against her former political rival.Clinton called the impeachment push necessary for defending democracy.

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