Tuesday, October 22, 2019


I appreciate the interest some of you have expressed in learning more about how I am addressing my responsibility for the pattern of sexual harassment in which I engaged during the period I worked at ABC News until 2007.

You may want to watch the conversation I had with Jennie Willoughby on this topic.

I am grateful to her for the discussion, and hope that, by reflecting on my own failures, I can help contribute to the important and necessary conversation about sexual harassment.

FULL VIDEO: https://youtu.be/yvs9r_Hk_3s





Mark Halperin


NEW: This New York Times lead: “House Democrats have resigned themselves to the likelihood that impeachment proceedings against President Trump will extend into the Christmas season, as they plan a series of public hearings intended to make the simplest and most devastating possible public case in favor of removing Mr. Trump.”

My take: This is the most important NEW or OLD development in today’s Wide World of News. As I’ve written before, the biggest danger to a substantively and politically successful impeachment process is that Democrats (with Republicans gumming up the works) can’t move fast enough to complete the House process in time to satisfy public appetite and the 2020 calendar. 

Paradoxically, the more investigative leads the Democrats find, the longer the probe will take, and the more likely that all of Nancy Pelosi’s concerns about pursuing impeachment will come true. 

Nothing Congress does ever happens as quickly as Capitol Hill leaders say it will happen. This new timeline is music to the ears of Donald J. Trump and Senate Republicans who want to avoid a trial.


OLD: The White House rallies congressional Republicans around process fights with the Democrats, rather than confronting the substantive allegations against the president.

My take: The media loves process fights; Republicans know that à process fights are the president’s best friend in the impeachment war. Look how much coverage the Adam Schiff censure “debate” got.


OLD: President Trump holds forth for more than 70 minutes at a “rollicking” White House photo op Monday at which he criticized Democrats, Mitt Romney, the impeachment probe, criticism of Doral, and oh so much more.

My take: My inbox was filled with two kinds of emails after this Peak Trump performance. Liberals saying it proved the incumbent is crazy and evil.  And conservatives saying it proved Trump is going to be reelected.


NEW: A Washington Post story says that Steve Bannon and Corey Lewandowski are talking about starting a podcast in lieu of a war room to defend the president from the impeachment and removal process.

My take: Bannon is an innovative guy, and the podcast medium is hot hot hot, but I am not clear on how a podcast can substitute for a war room.


OLD: The dynamics laid out in this Washington Post paragraph from the same story: “Administration officials Monday played down GOP anxiety as passing and typical of difficult junctures for Trump, but congressional allies said they remain uneasy about the president’s freewheeling style amid multiple investigative and political threats — and said they are making that clear to the president, who remains confident in his abilities.”

My take: While there are some signs that Team Trump contains more anxious people than usual, this is still largely par for the course, with the unity more surprising (under the circumstances) and significant than the disunity.


OLD: Capitol Hill Republicans and some Trump “allies” want Mick Mulvaney out of there.

My take: You can’t replace someone with no one. There still is no one.


OLD: Republican Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr is moving methodically to investigate alleged Trump wrongdoing.

My take: This probe, at one point seemingly dangerous for the president, seems now to be a sign of how Senate Republicans feel about impeachment.


NEW AND OLD: When the New York Times has someone talk to Trump supporters in a place like Florida, readers learn a lot about how impeachment is playing in some quarters outside the Beltway.

My take: As I have said from the start of impeachment, one of the most important and most difficult tasks for the media is to try to measure the gap between how America sees all this and how the politico-media culture sees all this.  Polling can help measure the gap. But so can reporting like this on the ground.


OLD: The media continues to search for any sign that Republicans will turn against Trump.

My take: When the press is looking at something Lindsey Graham said as a sign that the president is in trouble, more looking needs to be done.


OLD: The president used a Monday interview with Sean Hannity to reprise his greatest hits of the news cycle: “You know, it’s one thing if you commit a real crime. This was a conversation. It wasn’t even a big deal. Hey, how you doing, blah, blah, blah. This is a conversation. It was so perfect. But people say, it’s like a perfect conversation. [Impeachment] really means a high crime and misdemeanor.”

My take: At least some of the Trump base was fortified with red meat Monday night before bedtime.


NEW: The Washington Post says Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban played a big role in amping up Trump to believe that Ukraine had a swamp that needed to be drained.

My take: The amount of leaking and the sheer number of stories still to come about that one July telephone call are both staggering.


OLD AND NEW: Facebook says Russia recently used its platform to help Trump and hurt Biden.

My take: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are in the news multiple times a day lately. They are clearly on a huge PR offensive. Equally clear: they can’t stop foreign powers from using their platform to mess with the 2020 election.


NEW: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is caught up in the Lev Parnas controversy.

My take: Expect more Lev and Igor snaps with the famous to pop up now and forever. These guys were hiding in plain sight (sometimes on planes).


OLD: Trump’s announcement that he is removing all U.S. military personnel from Syria actually means some U.S. military personnel are remaining in Syria.

My take: Quagmires are quagmires, regardless of the party or isolationist instincts of whoever is in the Oval Office. In this case, facts on the ground and the Pentagon’s planning matter more than the president’s rhetoric.


OLD: The bipartisan foreign policy establishment thinks Trump is an unmitigated failure, giving U.S. foes what they want in return for nothing, and damaging important alliances.

My take: With the possible exception of Joe Biden, which potential Democratic presidential nominees have been thinking through rigorously how to make national security a winning issue in 2020?


NEW: Amy Klobuchar is getting her moment in the sun.

My take: The Minnesota Senator is one of the craftiest pols in the Democratic field. She knows that her burst of post-debate momentum is only the start of what she needs to do to get in the hunt.  She also knows that she has to play both an inside game and an outside game to position herself to be the Biden alternative for the establishment.


OLD: The right prepares to run against Elizabeth Warren as a big-spending, tax-raising, health-care-insurance-stealing liberal.

My take: If Team Warren is worried about all of her new spending programs hurting her chances to win a general election, they are doing a very good job of hiding that fact.


OLD: Conservatives would love Hillary Clinton to be part of the 2020 firmament.

My take: I can’t find anyone who can explain what is motivating the former first lady/Senator/Secretary of State/candidate. And I can’t find any Republican who isn’t gleeful about this.


OLD: Mike Pompeo heads to Kansas, raising speculation about a Senate run.

My take: His Thursday trip with Ivanka Trump makes me think more than ever that he will take the plunge, raising the question of who might get the Secretary of State job. Prediction: it will NOT be Rudy Giuliani.


OLD: Justin Trudeau will shakily hold on to power.

My take: Despite all the controversy, Canadians do not want a conservative PM as long as Donald Trump is in the White House.


NEW: Netanyahu might lose power.

My take: This one has a long way to go.  Israelis love politics; they are about to get a lot more of it.


Top sports story: Zion Williamson undergoes knee surgery, out 6-8 weeks


Top business story: Millionaires now hold nearly half of the world’s wealth


Top entertainment story: HBO Appeals Arbitration Order in ‘Leaving Neverland’ Fight


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