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Why Democrats' Attempts to Rein in Trump With Impeachment Could Make His Presidency Stronger

Why Democrats' Attempts to Rein in Trump With Impeachment Could Make His Presidency StrongerWhite House officials say the impeachment proceedings against Trump have strengthened their hand in the House and mobilized Trump’s base



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Hong Kong sees biggest protests since democrats' election boost

Hong Kong sees biggest protests since democrats' election boostVast crowds of black-clad demonstrators thronged Hong Kong on Sunday in the largest anti-government protests since local elections last month that boosted the pro-democracy movement seeking to curb controls by China. It was the first time since August that the Civil Human Rights Front – organizer of million-strong marches earlier in the year that paralyzed the Asian finance center – had received authorities’ permission for a rally.



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Trump on Democrats' impeachment inquiry: 'We're kicking their ass'

Trump on Democrats' impeachment inquiry: 'We're kicking their ass'President Trump on Friday continued to rail against the ongoing impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats, saying there is no need to hold public hearings because he did nothing wrong in his “perfect” call with Ukraine.



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Trump on Democrats' impeachment inquiry: 'We're kicking their ass'

Trump on Democrats' impeachment inquiry: 'We're kicking their ass'President Trump on Friday continued to rail against the ongoing impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats, saying there is no need to hold public hearings because he did nothing wrong in his “perfect” call with Ukraine.



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Beto O'Rourke drops out of race to become Democrats' 2020 presidential contender

Beto O'Rourke drops out of race to become Democrats' 2020 presidential contenderBeto O'Rourke has announced that he is dropping out of the race to become the Democrats' 2020 presidential contender.  Mr O'Rourke, a 47-year-old former congressman representing Texas, said it had become clear his campaign did not have the resources to continue to seek the party's nomination. "My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee," he wrote on Twitter. "Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country." Donald Trump immediately mocked him on Twitter, tweeting gleefully: "Oh no, Beto just dropped out of the race for president despite him saying he was 'born for this'. I don't think so!" Beto O'Rourke on the campaign trail Mr O'Rourke had been struggling to break through a crowded Democratic field. He entered the race in March with buzz from his narrow 2018 Senate loss to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in Texas. But as the excitement over his candidacy began to fade, Mr O'Rourke was forced to stage a "reintroduction" of his campaign to reinvigorate it. After a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, he began to center his campaign on gun violence prevention. He failed to inspire confidence during the series of the Democrat debates, and performed remarkably poorly in the polls. His decision to pull out does come as something of a surprise, however, given that much lesser-known faces still remain in the contest.



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The Democrats' impeachment process has a credibility problem

The Democrats' impeachment process has a credibility problemHas the House impeachment inquiry hit a brick wall on credibility? Or have House Democrats decided to call Republicans' bluff?After weeks of refusing to hold a full floor vote to formally launch an impeachment inquiry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) abruptly changed position this week. A Thursday vote will set out more clear parameters for the ongoing investigation without explicitly declaring an impeachment inquiry, but it's far from clear whether this changes anything appreciably — or if there's anything to change with the current focus on Ukraine policy as the predicate for impeachment.The bill that emerged Tuesday afternoon appears to directly address some of the key criticisms of House Republicans, who grew so frustrated with the closed hearings that they staged an intervention of sorts last week, breaching the Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in which the depositions were being taken under the control of House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff. That set off worries among Democrats that further such demonstrations could obstruct and drag out the impeachment process into next year and into the election cycle, something Pelosi would like to avoid.Democrats' claims that the demonstrations were a GOP stunt had some basis in fact. Some of the Republicans who participated actually did have access to the hearings as members of three committees participating in the testimony. Contrary to some claims made at the time, Republican committee members had the opportunity to ask questions of the witnesses during the deposition and were very engaged in that process.Still, other Republican complaints had started to take their toll. Republicans wanted Democrats to hold a full House vote to openly authorize an impeachment inquiry, rather than use committees to conduct an ad hoc investigation while House Democratic leadership publicly acknowledged that impeachment was the goal. They also wanted open hearings with the witnesses being subpoenaed, which Democrats refused to grant in order to keep witnesses from knowing preceding testimony. Democrats pointed out that the House rules allowed for closed-session depositions and compared them to secret grand-jury proceedings, but Republicans countered that grand juries don't leak characterizations of the testimony at pressers, as Schiff and other Democrats had been doing all along.That has made the proceedings seem as though they're being conducted by a kangaroo court, which has allowed Trump to argue that the process is corrupt. The only way to gain traction for this process is to give it more credibility — and to call the bluff of Republicans and Trump. Thus, Pelosi introduced a bill that will allow Republicans to call their own witnesses and to access all deposition materials, under the same rules used in the Bill Clinton impeachment process in 1998. The bill also establishes a mechanism for the full release of testimony, which Republicans have repeatedly demanded.This presents an immediate tactical risk for the White House. One of Pelosi's motives is to parry Trump's refusal to cooperate based on a lack of formal approval by the full House. A federal court ruled against Trump last week, but Trump can tie that question up for months on appeals, time that Pelosi perceives she does not have. A full House vote approving these rules not only means that Republicans no longer have due-process complaints (at least going forward), it signals to courts that the full House has indeed given tacit approval for an impeachment inquiry in providing a relatively fair structure for it.However, Pelosi is more worried about a different court: the court of public opinion. That perception that the impeachment process is unfair has hampered Democrats' ability to generate the kind of public support they need to take this to a full vote on impeachment without risking the gains Pelosi made in the 2018 midterms. National polling showing support for impeachment gaining momentum overall, but the response from the American public looks quite different on a state-by-state basis. A poll by The New York Times and Siena College last week showed that voters in six critical swing states with the closest margins in 2016 generally oppose impeachment, 43/53. Those numbers would suggest that continuing on this impeachment process might produce a Pyrrhic victory for Democrats in 2020, one that could produce a historic win for an already-impeached president for the first time ever.To fix that problem, and to force the Senate to take this more seriously, Pelosi has to revamp the process to provide at least the appearance of fairness. However, it's not likely to matter in the end. Impeachment is only the first step in the removal process, and in this case it's likely to be the last step Democrats can successfully take.The Republicans control the Senate, but their majority matters less than the fact that Democrats don't have a supermajority. If Democrats had uncovered a truly serious crime in this probe, that would likely convince at least 20 Senate Republicans to make Mike Pence president. The core problem is that Ukraine-Gate doesn't appear to involve an explicit statutory crime at all, but instead an alleged abuse of authority to gain political advantage over former Vice President Joe Biden. The House can decide what constitutes an impeachable offense, but the Senate decides whether it's even worthy of a full trial, let alone a removal.An impeachment without a removal will, in the end, look a lot like a political campaign no matter how much Pelosi improves the process. Voters will ask themselves why Democrats spent all year obsessed with impeachment under varying rationalizations and then chose the one issue on which they could almost guarantee no success in removal. Pelosi may win a tactical victory with this upcoming vote, but it's not going to solve the big strategic issue awaiting Democrats at the end of this process.Want more essential commentary and analysis like this delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for The Week's "Today's best articles" newsletter here.



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Democrats' 2020 race has a new shadow: Hillary Clinton

Democrats' 2020 race has a new shadow: Hillary ClintonSome Democrats are putting up caution signs for Hillary Clinton as she wades back into presidential politics by casting 2020 candidate Tulsi Gabbard as a “Russian asset,” mocking President Donald Trump’s dealings with a foreign leader and drawing counterattacks from both. Bernie Sanders, who lost the 2016 nomination to Clinton and is running again in 2020, took to Twitter with implicit criticisms of his erstwhile rival. Larry Cohen, one of Sanders’ top supporters, was more conciliatory but warned in an interview that Clinton could harm the eventual 2020 nominee by weighing in against specific candidates, even a longshot like Gabbard.



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Rudy Giuliani refuses to comply with House Democrats' subpoena

Rudy Giuliani refuses to comply with House Democrats' subpoenaPresident Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani informed House Democrats on Tuesday that he will not comply with a subpoena for documents they sent him as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry.



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UPDATE 4-Trump-Putin phone calls in U.S. Democrats' sights -Schiff

UPDATE 4-Trump-Putin phone calls in U.S. Democrats' sights -SchiffCongress is determined to get access to Donald Trump’s calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee’s chairman said on Sunday, citing concerns that the Republican president may have jeopardized national security.



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Who won the Democrats' debate? Our panelists' verdict

Who won the Democrats' debate? Our panelists' verdictAnother combative Democratic debate saw clashes between Joe Biden and his opponents – but no clear winner emerged Nathan Robinson: ‘Biden did better but remains a liabilityThe consensus will probably be that Julián Castro distinguished himself in Thursday’s debate, thanks to some forceful talk on immigration, a good story about hard ethical choices, and some deliciously salty exchanges with Joe Biden. Biden himself did better than before, which isn’t saying much. There were still painful moments, especially a downright bizarre ramble delivered in response to a question on his racial record – Biden implied that black parents need instructions on how to raise children, told people to “make sure you have the record player on at night”, and then started talking about Venezuela for no reason at all. I continue to believe he is a political liability who should under no circumstances be nominated.Bernie had some excellent answers on foreign policy and democratic socialism, sadly made less forceful thanks to a hoarse voice. Unfortunately, he was also denied the chance to say anything about climate change, meaning he couldn’t explain the urgent need for a Green New Deal.Warren distinguished herself as an explainer of progressive policies and effectively replied to the line about people wanting to “keep their insurance” by saying “I’ve never met anybody who likes their health insurance company.” Kamala Harris continues to duck tough questions about her atrocious record as a prosecutor, Amy Klobuchar continues to offer uninspiring centrist cliches, Beto O’Rourke continues to emphasize guns and racism, Andrew Yang gets ever closer to becoming Matthew Lesko, and Cory Booker continues to be personally endearing without offering any reason to vote for him. Oh, and please: no more three-hour debates. They are truly unendurable. * Nathan Robinson is the editor of Current Affairs and a columnist for the Guardian US Lloyd Green: ‘For Democrats, 2020 can’t arrive quickly enough’Joe Biden came out swinging hard but then struggled to stay focused in the third hour. Still, his swipes at Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were effective. Warren refused to own up to the cost of her single-payer healthcare plan; as for Sanders, he was reminded that “socialist” can be a putdown. Biden’s line, “I’m with Barack, Elizabeth is with Bernie” is here to stay.Kamala Harris also did well. Her tart Wizard of Oz description of President Trump, “When you pull back the curtain it’s a really small dude,” got the audience’s attention.Presidents Obama and Trump were also winners. This time, the candidates on stage repeatedly sang Obama’s praises on his healthcare reform. As for Trump, he had to be smiling when Julián Castro angrily taunted Biden over his age. For the Democrats, 2020 can’t arrive quickly enough. * Lloyd Green was opposition research counsel to George HW Bush’s 1988 campaign and served in the Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992 Jessa Crispin: ‘I miss Marianne Williamson’Biden as the Democratic frontrunner only makes sense if no one is watching any of his media appearances or these debates: he spends half his time stuttering, digressing, and bleeding from sensory organs.Everyone on stage on Thursday agreed on which issues are important and squabbled about how they will all magically solve intractable problems like healthcare, gun control and environmental devastation. The only fun left here is guessing who leaves the race next. Well, that and figuring out why Kamala Harris, who kept giggling at her own awkward jokes, had such a strong wine mom energy tonight.I miss Marianne Williamson. While everyone else argues about whose plan is going to actually raise taxes the most, she spoke to the deep issues of apathy, loss of authority, and weariness with a system that spends a year making big promises and then spends four years explaining why those promises are all impossible to achieve.If Biden is the Democratic future, responding to every mass shooting with an Oh Jeez and every diplomatic crisis with a “got your nose” joke, I want at least one person talking about why this is a joke too many. * Jessa Crispin is the author of Why I Am Not a Feminist Malaika Jabali: ‘No clear winners – but better moderators’It’s clear that Democratic debate hosts continue their disingenuous framing of socialism and the left, from asking loaded questions about what distinguishes Bernie Sanders from Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro to repeating conservative talking points about Medicare for All. The debates are becoming increasingly redundant, with few revelations materializing among them. However, moderators Linsey Davis and Jorge Ramos asked tough questions that were a welcome shift from the tone of previous debates.Davis unflinchingly confronted Biden on his positions on racial equality and lack of interest in reparations, and she directly called out Kamala Harris’s criminal justice record. Likewise, Jorge Ramos keyed in on Biden’s support for the Obama administration’s deportations of 3 million people.As the debate was three hours long, there should have been plenty of time to follow up on these questions, instead half of the first hour was spent relitigating Medicare for All. While there were no clear winners, and the frontrunners’ positions will likely change little after tonight, at least a few pointed questions forced some to contend with their records. * Malaika Jabali is a public policy attorney, writer, and activist Art Cullen: ‘Beto had a tremendous night’The best moment in all the debate was when Joe Biden made his closing remarks, speaking of resilience against all his tremendous personal loss: “Faith sees best in the dark. You find purpose in what you do. I stayed engaged.” Going up against that, Julián Castro looked small nipping at Biden’s heels by suggesting that he was forgetful.Beto O’Rourke had a tremendous night, the best on stage, with accolades all around and the most applause from the crowd for championing gun safety and condemning racism with passion, calling Trump a “white supremacist”. “Would you take away their guns? “Hell yes,” O’Rourke said. “We’re gonna take away your AR-15, your AK-47.”Elizabeth Warren maintained her momentum with cogent riffs on trade, Afghanistan, healthcare and corruption. Amy Klobuchar’s midwestern appeals for pragmatism will echo for voters looking for relief from chaos. She stayed in the fray. * Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in north-west Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. He is author of the book: Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper



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