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22 April, 2019

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Mueller report: Elizabeth Warren becomes first 2020 candidate to call for Trump?s impeachment

Mueller report: Elizabeth Warren becomes first 2020 candidate to call for Trump?s impeachmentElizabeth Warren has become the first 2020 election candidate to make a clear call for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller?s redacted report.The Massachusetts senator tweeted that it would be damaging to ?ignore a president?s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behaviour? and would allow future presidents to act in the same way. She added: ?The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States.?Mr Mueller, who examined whether Mr Trump?s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 election and whether the president tried to interfere with the inquiry, made no clear verdict on obstruction of justice.His report did, however, lay out 11 possible attempts to influence the investigation ? although he indicated the president was ?mostly unsuccessful? because his aides refused to carry out orders.Other Democrats running in 2020 have been more cautious on impeachment than Ms Warren in their response to the publication. Julian Castro said it would be ?perfectly reasonable for congress to open up those proceedings?.Both Jay Inslee of Washington and Eric Swalwell ? both of whom have recently launched presidential campaigns ? said only that the idea should not be taken off the table.Other Democratic candidates, including senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, suggested it was too soon to start impeachment proceedings.> The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.> > ? Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) > > April 19, 2019?We don?t have an unredacted version of the report. We don?t have the underlying materials that that report was written upon. We haven?t had yet an opportunity to have hearings where we interview Mueller,? said Mr Booker said during a campaign stop in Reno, Nevada.?I think that?s there definitely a conversation to be had on that subject, but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller and really understand what exactly is the evidence that supports the summary that we?ve been given,? said Ms Harris on impeachment hearings.Pete Buttigieg, the Indiana mayor also running for the White House, suggested it was not the best way to get rid of Mr Trump.He told NBC?s Late Night with Seth Meyers: ?If we really want to send Trumpism into the history books, the best thing we can do is defeat it decisively at the ballot box in 2020.?Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while not running in 2020, has signed on to an impeachment resolution from fellow Democrat, Rashida Tlaib.The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, has issued a subpoena for the full Mueller report and expects the Justice Department to comply by 1 May. Attorney general William Barr is to appear before the committee on 2 May, while Mr Nadler has also summoned Mr Mueller to testify by 23 May.The only Republican who had declared he will run against Donald Trump in 2020 said on Friday he was ?horrified? by special counsel Robert Mueller?s report, but said he could not back impeachment for ?political reasons?.The former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld told ABC News: ?It?s very unlikely that he would ever be convicted in the Senate where you need a two thirds vote?.

17 April, 2019

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Bernie Sanders Brings a Gun to a Democratic Primary Knife Fight

Bernie Sanders Brings a Gun to a Democratic Primary Knife FightMark Makela/GettyIn seeking the 2020 nomination for the presidency, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had made overtures that he?d operate more firmly within the Democratic Party as the party adopted procedural reforms to accommodate his concerns. The rapprochement was always delicate. And this week it hit a major snag as the senator?s presidential campaign opened fire at one of the Democratic Party?s leading think tanks over a video that its editorially independent news site posted on Sanders? personal wealth. That video from ThinkProgress and the senator?s response, in which he accused the Center for American Progress of bias against liberal candidates and veneration for corporate interests, exposed the lingering animus between the Sanders and the Democratic Party?s actual institutions. It also raised alarm and questions as to whether Sanders was running to lead the party or to fundamentally change it. ?If you always want to be an aggrieved factional candidate, then you do what they did here,? said a Democratic operative who is a fan of Sanders. ?It has nothing to do with the electoral context of Iowa or New Hampshire or Nevada or South Carolina. Let?s go fight that battle. Voters don?t care about CAP.?The root of the latest blow up was a video produced by ThinkProgress noting that Sanders had stopped maligning millionaires?leaving his criticism for billionaires?when he became one himself. The news site is part of the CAP umbrella, which gave the video the veneer of a sanctioned attack. But it also claims editorial independence from the think tank, though the degree of that independence is difficult to define. Sanders? campaign was initially uncertain of how it should respond to the post. But a day after it had been up?and shared gleefully by Republican operatives?they chose to push back in a way that, Democrats said, redefined disproportionality. Over the weekend, Sanders? campaign sent a letter to the board of CAP and CAP Action Fund saying that the ?counterproductive negative campaigning needs to stop.? The letter referenced content written about Sanders and two close colleagues who are also in the 2020 race: Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). It also explicitly called out CAP president Neera Tanden, an ally of Hillary Clinton, who has been critical of Sanders in the past but has attempted to mend bridges. Among some Democrats, there was a sense of bewilderment that the Sanders campaign had gone?as one operative put it??nuclear? over a mere web video. One Democratic consultant sympathetic to Sanders described the video as being ?like a gnat buzzing around your ear,? one which should not have distracted from the candidate?s Midwest tour. It also raised questions as to whether the senator was ready for the scrutiny that would come from being a frontrunning candidate, after having run as an insurgent against an ideal foil, Hillary Clinton, in 2016. ?When you?re leading in the polls of president of your party you should expect investigative stories to hit at least once a week and to be attacked by your opponents every day,? said Ben Labolt, who served as press secretary to Barack Obama during the 2012 campaign. ?An attack on something like ThinkProgress is the sign of a super-narrow-minded campaign that isn?t actually thinking of how the election will be won... They have chosen an establishment force that no one outside of the Starbucks at 16th and K would recognize.? But within Sanders? orbit, the pushback was seen as strategically prudent. Sanders has often bristled at personal questions that he deems irrelevant to the set of beliefs he has espoused for decades. And his attack on CAP effectively set a benchmark for the type of coverage that the his team would countenance and reinforced his brand as someone outside of typical party structures. It also undermined any notion that he was a political pushover?a suggestion that lingered for some after he muted some of his attacks on Clinton in 2016. It didn?t hurt matters that some prominent, though non-establishment, Democratic figures offered Sanders their support. Tom Steyer, the liberal billionaire donor and party activist, who also serves on the board of directors for CAP issued a statement on his own saying he would use his ?voice on the Center for American Progress? Board of Directors to discourage any such attacks on any candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in the future.?Those close to Steyer told The Daily Beast that he released the statement without consulting with others at the organization and that it by no means suggested he was endorsing Sanders. Another CAP board member, Stacey Abrams, declined to comment. But a spokesperson for the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia directed The Daily Beast to a conciliatory statement Tanden issued on Monday afternoon, saying the video had been ?overly harsh? and did ?not reflect our approach to a constructive debate of the issues.?That, for now, seems to have quieted the skirmish with Sanders? campaign manager Faiz Shakir saying that the campaign looked ?forward to working in a more productive manner? with CAP, ?if possible.? But within a few hours, Sanders was, once more, putting pressure on the press; this time on an outlet of a highly-different ideological bent than ThinkProgress. In a town hall with Fox News, the senator hit back on the suggestion that his income-inequality message was muddied by his personal wealth by directly challenging the newscasters to ask the president for his own tax rates. ?I pay the taxes that I owe,? he declared, ?and by the way, why don?t you get Donald Trump up here and ask them how much he pays in taxes??Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here