Democrats Start to Sense Impeachment Checkmate

Democrats Start to Sense Impeachment Checkmate(Bloomberg) — Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.In the words of one Democratic impeachment investigator, there’s now “smoking gun sitting on top of smoking gun.”Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin’s description of the House probe following U.S. diplomat William Taylor’s explosive testimony explains why the pace of the inquiry has accelerated, with several Democrats saying they now expect closed-door witness interviews to conclude in about two weeks. That would be followed by public hearings.Taylor and other witnesses have sketched out back-channel outreach to Ukraine by Trump and his closest advisers that appears to have focused on leveraging U.S. foreign policy to dig up dirt on 2020 rival Joe Biden.Moving to the public hearing stage could help blunt the Republican criticism of the “Soviet-style” closed-door proceedings. To make their point, about two dozen GOP House members stormed the secure hearing room yesterday, delaying the questioning of a Pentagon official for more than five hours.As Billy House writes, open sessions also would give Democrats a way to build public support, with polls already moving in favor of impeachment.Another potential bombshell looms in the form of Trump’s ousted national security adviser, John Bolton, who’s likely to be called to testify.And no one — including the president — can be sure what he’ll say.Global HeadlinesFork in the road | Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are pitching prominent Democrats on different paths to winning voters the party lost to Trump in 2016: He says he can recreate the Obama coalition, while she says her anti-corporate-greed message will appeal to struggling Americans. The choice is intensifying a clash over the party’s future along ideological and generational lines.Alberto who? | Alberto Fernandez has never served as governor, mayor or even congressman, but he’s still the firm favorite to win Argentina’s presidential election on Sunday. And that likelihood has investors petrified. Patrick Gillespie and Jorgelina do Rosario profile the backroom operator whose Peronist ticket with Cristina Kirchner looks poised to unseat President Mauricio Macri.Olive branch | Indonesian President Joko Widodo has drafted a former rival into his cabinet as a bulwark against further backlash over his second-term agenda. Ex-military chief Prabowo Subianto might help Jokowi push through reforms to bolster an economy growing at its slowest pace in two years, but his reputation as a maverick may bring him into conflict with the government.Building bridges | Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean Premier Lee Nak-yon agreed to ease a feud between their countries that has spilled into trade and security. After their highest-level meeting in more than a year, both sides made statements expressing a desire to mend ties. The neighbors are each other’s third-largest trading partners, and neither can afford an economic fight as global growth cools.Chile message | Deadly anti-government unrest in Chile triggered by a 4-cent hike in subway fares is flashing a warning sign in Latin America’s biggest economy. Brazil’s acting president, Hamilton Mourao, tells Bloomberg’s Walter Brandimarte and Rosalind Mathieson that the turmoil is a reminder to the region’s leaders that they must care for the most vulnerable, even as they seek to maintain fiscal discipline through government austerity.What to WatchBoris Johnson canceled a cross-examination by senior members of Parliament, as speculation mounted the U.K. prime minister will again try to force an election to break the Brexit deadlock.  U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to deliver a major speech on Trump administration policy toward China. South Africa’s official opposition party is in chaos after its leader and another top official quit yesterday amid infighting over appointments and policies and a loss of electoral support.Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally … When the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded in 1986, Viktor Ivkin was just meters away from the main control room. He suffered severe radiation burns but survived and returned to work as a “liquidator,” charged with cleaning up the disaster. Bloomberg TicToc meets him as he returns to where it happened 30 years later to talk about that night, the HBO show recounting it, and what he wants people to know about the plight of liquidators.  \–With assistance from Ruth Pollard and Alan Crawford.To contact the author of this story: Kathleen Hunter in London at khunter9@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Winfrey at mwinfrey@bloomberg.net, Karl MaierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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