Monday, September 30, 2019


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THE CURRENT IMPEACHMENT SCORECARD

Working for the Democrats:

House Democrats are united around both their message and their impeachment tactics, realizing just in time that for optics reasons they needed to pull back from looking like they have already decided to impeach the president.

House Democrats know they need to be cognizant of voters who are skeptical or worried about impeachment – and cognizant of giving their own vulnerable members the room they need to survive in their pro-Trump districts.

Nancy Pelosi is revered by the media, is unafraid of the president, and has found firm footing for this phase of the investigation.

A CBS News poll finds majority support for an impeachment probe, and Democratic voters are overwhelmingly on board.

The polling on Trump’s actions hasn’t totally collapsed against the president for now, but it isn’t super supportive either.

Trump’s former homeland security advisor Tom Bossert was critical of the president on ABC, including suggesting Trump is too prone to believe debunked conspiracy theories.

The White House is allegedly dealing with finger pointing and disarray, amid a CNN report that acting chief of staff Mulvaney is being blamed for not preparing for the onslaught.

Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger called a Trump tweet “repugnant.”

The questions being raised about former part-time envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker could put him in quite a vise.

A Washington Post story framed skeptically around the question of how Joe Biden is handling the Ukraine controversy is actually relatively bullish on Team Biden.

The mainstream media is fully on board with the impeachment effort.


Working for the Republicans:

The president has Steve Scalise, Kevin McCarthy, Rudy Giuliani, Stephen Miller, Jim Jordan, and Lindsey Graham on his side.

****

My take: The White House is losing this fight right now. Team Trump seems to be betting a lot on

(a) Discrediting the whistleblower.  This might eventually work politically, but it is too soon for anyone to have any idea if it will bear fruit for the president.

(b) Discrediting Adam Schiff. This might eventually work politically, but it is too soon for anyone to have any idea if it will bear fruit for the president.

(c) Trying to get the media to focus on Hunter Biden.  This might eventually work politically, but it is too soon for anyone to have any idea if it will bear fruit for the president.

(d) Throwing out all manner of distractions, red herrings, and base-riling accusations.  This might eventually work politically, but it is too soon for anyone to have any idea if it will bear fruit for the president.

(e) Assuming they can slow the process down just enough to avoid being accused of slowing down the process while still making things take so long that House Democrats run out of time.  This might eventually work politically, but it is too soon for anyone to have any idea if it will bear fruit for the president.

(f) Showing that Trump is hard at work on his legislative agenda on behalf of the American people, even as he tries to discredit the investigation against him.  This might eventually work politically, but it is too soon for anyone to have any idea if it will bear fruit for the president.

(g) Eventually saving the presidency by arguing that what the president did was potentially ill-advised, but it doesn’t warrant removal from office.  This might eventually work politically with Senate Republicans, but it is not too soon to say that without some dramatic revelation in the president’s favor, it will not stop the House from impeaching him.

****
Top sports story: Cleveland Browns coach Freddie Kitchens irked Marlon Humphrey not ejected for choking Odell Beckham Jr.
ESPN

Top business story: Fiat Chrysler to pay $40 million over claims it misled investors
CNBC

Top entertainment story: Brad Pitt’s ‘Ad Astra’ Maintains International Box Office Lead With $18 Million
Variety

****

BIG FOUR

New Hampshire

State’s marijuana legalization supporters set to pare back approach in 2020.

New Hampshire state budget raises smoking age to 19.

Nevada

In Las Vegas, Biden says he’s confident he can beat Trump, unify nation.

What will the candidates do about gun violence?

Housing woes push into 2020 debate from Nevada and beyond.

South Carolina

Analysis: Few 2020 presidential candidates pitch new policies when campaigning in SC.

How the US government wasted $8 billion and stranded tons of plutonium in South Carolina.


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