As primaries near, some 2020 Democrats putting greater focus on faith

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COLUMBIA, S.C.– As the holidays near and the early-state primaries loom, several Democratic candidates are courting religious voters and bringing up their faith more regularly on the campaign trail — especially in the rural and southern political turf that's critical to the first leg in 2020.

Take South Carolina. The state that holds the “first in the South” primary and has been a virtual polling lock for former Vice President Joe Biden ever since the start of the race has seen other candidates make an open appeal to the faithful in recent weeks.

"I'm not running for pastor," Sen. Cory Booker told a room of African-American men during his “Man-to-Man Conversation” event in Columbia earlier this month.

The topic came up after an attendee urged him to provide the moral leadership he felt America was missing. Booker has been one of the most vocal when it comes to delivering messages of faith. His campaign speeches often include Bible verses or biblical references. At one event, when a gust of wind blew open the doors of a venue, he exclaimed, “This is the spirit of Elijah coming … We are not alone.”

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South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg often mentions his faith during speeches as well. “God has been very, very good to me,” said Buttigieg during an AME Zion Regional Conference worship service in Rock Hill, S.C., in late October.

Later that day, Buttigieg hosted an inter-faith forum just down the road where he elaborated on the influence of faith in his candidacy.

“Faith also inspires hope, and hope is the lifeblood of my campaign,” the Democratic hopeful said as he explained to the crowd that he believed running for office was the ultimate “act of hope.”

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang credits his family's Christian faith to his wife Evelyn, who was raised Christian.

"Our boys are in Sunday school and are being brought up Christian, and I'm thrilled with that … it’s a source of real strength and joy for me," said Yang. "I would be the first to say that my own journey is still in progress."

While Buttigieg has ticked up in South Carolina polls in recent weeks, he's still in single digits along with Booker and Yang. Biden enjoys a commanding lead as he has for months, followed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Whether the appeals to faith will resonate, and change hearts and minds, remains to be seen.

Democratic strategists note members of the party have long tried to pitch to religious voters. Capri Cafaro, who’s also served as a top Democratic Ohio state senator, pointed to the prominent role the evangelical vote played in former Republican President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election.

TRUMP BLASTS EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE AFTER BLISTERING EDITORIAL CALLING FOR HIS REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

“I think at that point Democrats were really looking inward to see how they could appropriately engage and include their own faith and faith narrative on the campaign trail and how to best connect with those individuals of faith,” said Cafaro.

An AP poll shows only 37 percent of Democrats feel it’s moderately important for a candidate to have strong religious beliefs compared with roughly two-thirds of Republicans.

But, religion could be more influential in early states like Iowa or South Carolina, where more than 75 percent of people practice some form of Christianity, according to Pew Research.

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“Religious values are extremely important to people here in Iowa, especially to the crowd that are one-issue voters,” said Marcus Anderson, a resident of Windsor Heights, Iowa. He added there might be a greater emphasis on religion this election cycle because of President Trump, alleged that the president is an "affront" to "anyone with a moral value or a Christian conscience."

Trump's relationship with the evangelical community has been front and center lately after a scathing editorial in Christianity Today called for his removal, one day after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against him.

That prompted a rebuke from Trump himself, and nearly 200 evangelical leaders later wrote to the Christian magazine's president condemning the editorial, saying it “offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations."

Some voters say they focus not so much on a candidate’s religion but on how he or she manifests those religious values in their platforms.

“I’ve often felt a conflict between candidates who profess their religious beliefs. I felt it really important to keep church and state separate. What I’ve come to now is if somebody professes to have a religious belief, then it needs to inform their action and their values,” said Rose Sloven, during a campaign event for Booker in Adel, Iowa.

In fact, an AP poll shows 57 percent of Americans want the influence of religion on government policy to extend beyond traditional culture war issues and into policies addressing poverty.

DEMOCRATS REACHING OUT TO RELIGIOUS VOTERS: 'I NEVER HEAR ANY OF THAT FROM REPUBLICANS'

“Economic justice and health care access and certainly the sort of human rights aspect surrounding the issue of immigration, particularly when it comes to children, these are all issues that I think Democrats of faith consider in the context of a sort of faith-based candidate,” said Cafaro.

Meanwhile, former priest Jonathan Morris believes transparency and sincerity are what truly matters for a religious-minded voter.

“We want a leader who's going to help us not only in the economy but also to lead us toward something bigger and better,” said Morris, a Fox News contributor. “Not necessarily somebody who shares all of my theological views but somebody who can say we can be better as a nation and let's pursue God as we pursue also a better common life as citizens of the United States of America.”

Original Article

Trump blasts House Democrats over impeachment: ‘They had nothing, there’s no crime’

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President Trump mocked House Democrats on Saturday during a Turning Point USA event in West Palm Beach, Fla., for voting to impeach him without providing any evidence of a crime.

“They had nothing. There’s no crime. There’s no nothing," Trump said. "How do you impeach? You had no crime. Even their people said there was no crime. In fact, there’s no impeachment. Their own lawyer said there’s no impeachment. What are we doing here?”

Trump then briefly turned his focus to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and called her "crazy Nancy" before criticizing her for delaying the process by withholding the articles of impeachment from the GOP-controlled Senate.

"The world is watching," Trump said. "Crazy Nancy. She’s crazy. So now she says she has no case. She has no case, so let’s not submit it. That’s good, right? That’s good, but you know what? So unfair. It’s so unfair. She has no case."

JEFF FLAKE CLAIMS SENATE REPUBLICANS, NOT JUST TRUMP, ARE ON TRIAL

The commander in chief accused Democrats of violating the Constitution and claimed his poll numbers have benefited from their divisive rhetoric.

"They are violating the Constitution, totally. Totally. They’re violating the Constitution. In the meantime, our polls have gone through the roof," Trump said.

Later in the speech, the president questioned the patriotism of congressional Democrats and accused them of not believing in democracy.

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"When all else fails, they pursue an illegal, unconstitutional and hyperpartisan impeachment," he said. "They go with the impeachment thing. Some of these extremists may call themselves Democrats, but they really don't believe in democracy. They can't. They can't believe in democracy."

He added, "Generations of patriots before us did not work, fight and sacrifice so that we could surrender our country to a raging, left-wing mob. And that's what's happening. While they want to punish America, we will fight to preserve America… Together we will stand up to socialists, we will defend our nation — the greatest and most glorious republic in the history of this world."

"And you know what? The best is yet to come," he added.

Original Article

Trump campaign launches ‘Democrats for Trump,’ seeking disaffected liberals

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How impeachment became a money magnet for Trump campaign

Ronna McDaniel, RNC chairwoman, explains how the Trump campaign has raised millions off the Democrats impeachment of the president

Has the left gone too left, making the right the new center?

The Trump reelection campaign is betting that “disaffected Democrats” have had enough of radical progressivism, launching the “Democrats for Trump” coalition on Thursday.

“From the sham impeachment to the outright embrace of socialism, the Democrat party of today is unrecognizable and leaving moderate Democrats behind,” said President Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, in a statement. “For Democrats who feel abandoned by the socialist radicalization of their party, there is room for you on Team Trump and we welcome you to join the movement and a President that are putting America first.”

Parscale also took to Twitter to release campaign internal polling showing the possibility of Democrats holding House seats in districts won by Trump in 2016.

He tweeted: “House Dems sitting in @realDonaldTrump won districts know a vote for impeachment is a vote to lose their seats in 2020. Internal polling shows voters in those districts OPPOSE impeachment by 10 points. ⬇️”

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The campaign said its new coalition is for moderate liberals who want to work with Trump-led conservatives on lowering prescription drug costs, passing strong trade deals and fixing America’s infrastructure.

“President Trump speaks for a generation of Democrats who feel abandoned by today’s partisan tactics,” said Tony Mace, Cibola County, New Mexico, sheriff, in a statement from the campaign. “Coastal elitists and left-wing radicals have seized the Democrat Party.”

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Also Thursday, Jeff Van Drew, the New Jersey congressman who broke with the Dems to vote against Trump’s impeachment, officially switched parties and became a Republican.

“Jeff will be joining the Republican Party,” Trump announced during an Oval Office event with Van Drew. “It’s a big deal.”

“I believe that this is just a better fit for me,” Van Drew said of his decision, promising Trump his “undying support.”

“This is who I am, it’s who I always was, but there was more tolerance of moderate Democrats, of Blue Dog Democrats, of conservative Democrats,” said Van Drew, “and I think that’s going away.”

Van Drew on Wednesday broke with his party and voted against impeaching Trump — a move that bolstered GOP attempts to depict Democrats as divided on the matter. Republicans voted unanimously against it.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew announces he's switched from Democrat to Republican during Oval Office meeting with TrumpVideo

Wednesday night’s House vote, almost entirely along party lines, made the president just the third in U.S. history to be impeached. The House impeached Trump on two charges — abusing his presidential power and obstructing Congress — stemming from his pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations of his political rival as Trump withheld U.S. aid.

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Impeachment may prove increasingly unpopular among moderates in key battleground states.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Pro-Trump evangelical leaders condemn Democrats’ impeachment vote as ‘utterly partisan’

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Trump campaign says polls are on president's side on impeachment

Reaction and analysis from Trump 2020 campaign deputy communications director Erin Perrine.

Evangelical Christian pastors and leaders who have prayed with President Trump in the Oval Office slammed House Democrats for what they called an "utterly partisan" impeachment vote Wednesday night.

Paula White-Cain, Trump's personal pastor and special adviser to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative in the White House, posted a midnight prayer for the newly impeached president, who overwhelmingly won the evangelical vote in the 2016 election.

PASTORS, WORSHIP LEADERS PRAY FOR TRUMP IN OVAL OFFICE AMID IMPEACHMENT FIGHT

"Tonight we lift up President Trump in prayer against all wickedness and demonic schemes against him and his purpose in the name of Jesus," White-Cain wrote. "Surround him with your angels and let them encamp around about him. Let all demonic stirrings and manipulations be overturned!"

Revs. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, and Johnnie Moore, president of the Congress of Christian Leaders, said Democrats impeached Trump for "the policies and people that he represents."

"The Democrats in the House impeached millions of God-fearing, family-loving and patriotic Americans from the Democrat and Republican parties," the two leaders said.

MCCONNELL RIPS PELOSI FOR IMPEACHMENT DELAY, SAYS DEMS ‘AFRAID’ TO TRANSMIT ‘SHODDY’ ARTICLES

"Our relentless prayers especially rest with the President of the United States and upon all of those who led us into this utterly partisan disregard of the most powerful tool our Founders gave us to undo a presidential election – which is exactly what this is an attempt to do," they added.

Pastors Paula White-Cain, Jentezen Franklin, and others join in prayer for President Trump amid House Democrats' impeachment push.

Pastors Paula White-Cain, Jentezen Franklin, and others join in prayer for President Trump amid House Democrats' impeachment push. (Official White House Photos by Joyce Boghosian)

Evangelist Franklin Graham said, "Dems have been trying to destroy Trump since day one."

The president of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association added, "We need to pray for President Trump and this nation."

Jentezen Franklin, pastor of Free Chapel, listed Trump accomplishments as president, saying he feels the need to pray for him again.

"The people's voice will be heard like never before when we vote again," Franklin said. "Pray, fast, and vote your faith 20/20!"

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach Trump, adopting two articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He is the third president in American history to be impeached.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump gave them "no choice," following his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden while withholding security assistance and a White House meeting.

"If we do not act now we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary," Pelosi said ahead of the vote. "He gave us no choice."

"His conduct continues to undermine our Constitution and threaten our next election. His actions warrant his impeachment and demand his removal from office," House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., added.

The case is expected to head to the Senate for trial, though Pelosi has stirred speculation by not yet transmitting the articles to the chamber.

Original Article

Several Democrats defect on impeachment, as GOP holds together in support of Trump

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Fitton on impeachment: Trump being abused, Constitution being attacked

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton reacts to House vote on impeachment articles.

While the votes to impeach President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress fell mostly along party lines, three Democrats bucked their party on Wednesday evening to vote against impeaching the president on at least one of the articles.

Reps. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., voted against both articles of impeachment. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, voted in favor of impeaching Trump on abuse power, but not on obstruction of Congress.

Another Democrat, presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, voted "present" on both impeachment resolutions.

WATCH LIVE: AS HOUSE VOTES ON IMPEACHMENT, TRUMP HOLDS DEFIANT RALLY IN BATTLE CREEK, MICH.

The result helped GOP lawmakers make the case that the only bipartisan vote on the floor Wednesday evening was the vote against impeachment — as all Republicans held together in opposition.

“Not a single Republican broke ranks,” GOP Rep. Greg Steube of Florida told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson minutes after the vote.

Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted “yea” on both articles.

All three Democrats who voted against impeaching Trump come from districts that Trump won in the 2016 election and are expected to face difficult reelection campaigns in the swing districts.

Hume: Impeachment hasn't captured people's imaginationVideo

Van Drew, who met with Trump last week to reportedly discuss plans to switch to the GOP, was also one of only two Democrats — the other being Peterson — to vote "no" on launching the impeachment inquiry into Trump. The two were also the lone dissenters on an earlier vote Wednesday on the rule to kick off the impeachment debate.

“I’ve always felt this impeachment is going to do a tremendous amount of harm to the country,” Van Drew said. “It’s really going to create more division, more hardship, more hate, more civil unrest.”

Peterson has argued that there was not enough evidence to impeach Trump and, that with almost no chance of the Republican-controlled Senate voting to remove Trump from office, the impeachment will only cause further divisions in the country.

The longtime Democratic congressman, however, brushed off speculation that he would move over to the GOP.

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"I'm staying in the party, in spite of some of the stuff that's going on that I don't agree with, I am not going switch parties at this stage of my career," he told KFGO News earlier this week. "There have been overtures by the highest levels of the Republican Party in the last couple weeks to ask if I would consider it and I told them no,"

Democratic leadership in the House also knew ahead of time that Golden would be voting against the article to impeach Trump on obstruction of Congress.

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In a lengthy Facebook post, Golden said on Tuesday that while “the House investigation clearly unearthed a pattern of evidence that demonstrates the corrupt intent on the part of the president” and that “the president’s resistance toward our investigative efforts has been frustrating," he does not think it “reached the threshold of ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ that the Constitution demands.”

Despite the defections from the three lawmakers, Democrats still had more than enough votes to impeach Trump on both charges, with the House voting 230-197 on impeaching him for abuse of power and 229-198 on obstruction of Congress.

Fox News' Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

Original Article

Doug Collins: Democrats’ rush to impeach Trump like ‘last-minute Christmas shopping’

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House Democrats’ rush to an impeachment vote against President Trump before the end of the week is like impulsive “last-minute Christmas shopping,” the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee said Tuesday during a marathon day of contentious hearings on Capitol Hill.

“When you’re [under] the tyranny of a clock and that calendar, nothing else matters,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., told the House Rules Committee. “It’s like what’s gonna happen here in the holidays is, you’re getting close to that day and you’re supposed to get that gift and nothing else matters, you just gotta go get it.

“At the last minute if you don’t have anything,” Collins continued, “you just go out and you buy the first thing you get.”

“At the last minute, if you don’t have anything, you just go out and you buy the first thing you get.”

— Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.

WITH TRUMP IMPEACHMENT VOTE IMMINENT, PRESIDENT TRAVELING TO BATTLE CREEK, MICH., TO RALLY THE FAITHFUL

Collins made the remarks before the rules panel ultimately approved procedures for Wednesday's impeachment proceedings in a 9-4 party-line vote. The House Judiciary Committee last week voted to send two articles of impeachment to the House floor, alleging Trump obstructed Congress and abused the powers of his office. Articles related to other Democratic allegations, such as bribery, were notably absent.

“The clock was running out and they found a phone call they didn’t like, they didn’t like this administration, they didn’t like what the president did," Collins continued during his testimony. "They tried to make up claims that there was pressure in all these other things outlined in the report, but at the end of the day it’s simply last-minute Christmas shopping.
“They ran and found something and said ‘We can do it!’” he concluded.

The panel’s meeting Tuesday laid the procedural groundwork for the House debate on Wednesday, outlining the timetable and other factors for the historic and divisive moment in Washington. At the core of the inquiry is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Democrats allege that Trump’s push for investigations into the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct in the country was part of an attempted quid pro quo in exchange for a White House meeting and the unlocking of military aid. Trump denies this.

Speaking after Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., introduced the Democrats’ case Tuesday, Collins also compared what’s happening in the Democrat-led House to the 1865 chidlren's novel "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

“What’s up is down and what’s down is up,” Collins said. “We’re more 'Alice in Wonderland' than we are House of Representatives.”

“What’s up is down and what’s down is up. We’re more 'Alice in Wonderland' than we are House of Representatives.”

— Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.

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On Wednesday, House Democrats will convene to adopt the rules for the impeachment debate shortly after 9 a.m. ET, followed by six hours of debate evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Some members will be afforded only one minute to speak, and no amendments to the impeachment resolutions will be permitted.

The final vote sequence will likely begin well into the evening hours, with one vote held on each article of impeachment, Fox News was told. It will likely end with Trump becoming just the third U.S. president ever to be impeached — a history-making development that Trump has said reflects far worse on congressional Democrats than it does on him.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

Democrats’ impeachment manager selection

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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As the House prepares for its historic impeachment vote, Democrats are already planning ahead for the potential trial in the Senate. At the top of their agenda is who should stand before senators, who will be serving as jurors, and who will argue why President Trump should be removed from office.

That decision will ultimately be made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She’s expected to choose Democrats, likely some in the Judiciary or Intelligence Committee, who have been involved in the impeachment process. However, a group of 30 Democrats is urging her to go a different route — one that ends with naming independent congressman Justin Amash as an impeachment manager. Amash famously left the Republican Party this year to register, instead, as an independent.

“I think people need to stand up for what’s right, stand up for what they believe in, and be independent of these party loyalties that really divide us,” he stated.

FILE – In this June 12, 2019 file photo, independent Rep. Justin Amash listens to debate on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Before this move, however, he was the first Republican congressman to call for the president to be impeached. Some have argued that putting Amash front and center in the trial would send a statement that the impeachment inquiry is bipartisan, which is something Republicans say the investigation hasn’t been.

“What we’ve seen in the House was a partisan show trial,” stated Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “It was one-sided.”

Meanwhile, others say choosing Amash is too much of a risk. The Washington Post reported that Amash is open to the task if he’s asked, but according to CNN it likely won’t be offered to him.

With that pivotal decision coming down to Speaker Pelosi, it’s unclear if she will take the gamble or pick someone safer. Either way, we won’t have to wait very long to find out as Pelosi is likely to announce her picks this week.

RELATED: President Trump: ‘The Impeachment Hoax Is The Greatest Con Job In The History Of American Politics’

Original Article

Schiff defends Democrats’ impeachment case against Trump

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Rep. Adam Schiff defends Democrats' impeachment case against President Trump

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., defended the Democrats' case for impeaching President Trump and slammed his Republican colleagues for allowing the White House to ignore congressional subpoenas.

In an interview that aired on “Fox News Sunday,” Schiff said that of the two articles of impeachment brought last week against Trump, he considers obstruction of Congress to be the most serious. The other article brought against the president is abuse of power.

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“I would just say to my Republican colleagues – who appear to be on the verge of shirking their constitutional duty — if they're prepared to say a president can simply say no to any congressional subpoena and tie up the Congress for years in litigation, it is going to have to accept corruption, malfeasance, negligence, misconduct in any future president – Republican or Democrat,” Schiff told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. “Are we really prepared to go down that road?”

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Schiff added: “In many respects I consider this to be the most serious of the articles because it would fundamentally alter the balance of power and allow for much greater misconduct in the chief executive of the country.”

Schiff – who has become arguably the most visible Democratic face in the impeachment process – also balked at the assertion that he was a fact witness and should have been called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee last week. Republicans have consistently called for Schiff to testify amid reports that he, or his staff, had contact with the whistleblower who first reported concerns about Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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“This isn’t about fact witness,” he said. “There are, in fact, members of Congress who are witnesses.

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He continued: Senator [Ron] Johnson [a Wisconsin Republican] had a discussion with the president. Senator [Lindsey] Graham [a Republican from South Carolinia] had discussions with the president about the withholding of aid. They may be fact witnesses. We didn’t seek to call them. We’re not seeking to make a circus out of this.”

A full U.S. House vote is likely to come this upcoming week before Congress adjourns for the year, and the Senate is likely to vote in January or February.

Original Article

Some moderate Democrats expected to defect when full House votes on impeachment: reports

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House leaders reportedly expect to lose as many as a half-dozen votes from moderate Democrats representing swing districts or those that backed President Trump in 2016 when the full House votes on impeachment next week.

Two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — opposed the impeachment rules package in September but multiple officials told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity that they expect more.

REPUBLICANS ERUPT AS NADLER SUDDENLY POSTPONES IMPEACHMENT VOTE NEAR MIDNIGHT

Despite the anticipated defections, Democrats should have more than enough votes when impeachment comes to a full House vote following this week's Judiciary Committee hearings. Including the independent vote of former Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Democrats can afford to lose 17 votes from their side of the aisle.

No Republicans are expected to vote for impeachment.

Van Drew has already said he plans to vote against impeachment.

"I don't see anything there worthy of actually taking a president out of office," he said, according to USA Today. "I'm concerned about splitting our nation apart."

"I don't see anything there worthy of actually taking a president out of office. I'm concerned about splitting our nation apart."

— U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said she plans to take the weekend to think over her vote.

"I just need to like, get a breath. Take a breath. It’s a serious decision for me," she said, according to Reuters.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she won’t pressure moderates to vote for impeachment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks to attend a health care event at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 11, 2019. (Associated Press)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks to attend a health care event at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 11, 2019. (Associated Press)

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"I have no message to them. We are not whipping this legislation, nor would we ever with something like this," Pelosi told reporters, according to The Hill. "They'll make their own decisions. I don't say anything to them."

Democrats' two articles of impeachment against Trump are for abuse of power and obstructing Congress.

After a marathon session Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., delayed a vote on the articles until Friday morning.

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Democrats announce packed debate schedule in early voting states

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Only 7 candidates have qualified for next Democratic debate

Who stands the best chance? Democratic strategist Malia Fisher and GOP strategist Lauren Claffey debate.

The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that it plans to sponsor four more presidential nomination debates in January and February in the first four states to vote in the primary and caucus calendar.

The first of the early voting state debates will take place on Jan. 14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. CNN and the Des Moines Register will serve as media partners. Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucuses kick off the nominating calendar.

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The next debate will be held Feb. 7 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., with ABC News, local TV station WMUR, and Apple News as media partners. New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary will be held on Feb. 11.

Twelve days later, the DNC will hold a debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, in partnership with NBC News, MSNBC, and the Nevada Independent. The Feb. 19 debate will be held three days before the state’s presidential caucuses.

The final early voting state debate will be held on Feb. 25, in Charleston, S.C., four days before the state’s primary. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute are partnering with the DNC for the debate.

The DNC acknowledged that the timing of the Iowa debate could be in flux.

With a likely Senate trial in the impeachment of President Trump to be held in January – with the chamber possibly in session six days a week during the duration of the trial — the five Democratic senators running for the White House could be sidelined.

DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa tweeted that “if a conflict with an impeachment trial is unavoidable, the DNC will evaluate its options and work with all the candidates to accommodate them."

In its announcement, the DNC did not spell out how candidates could qualify for the upcoming debates. Candidates needed to hit 4 percent in at least four polls recognized by the DNC, or 6 percent in at least two polls conducted in early voting states, and receive contributions from at least 200,000 individual donors to make the stage at next week’s sixth round debate, which is being held in Los Angeles.

BOOKER SAYS HE WON'T MAKE DEBATE STAGE NEXT WEEK BUT VOWS TO CARRY ON

Only seven candidates in the field of roughly 15 remaining Democratic presidential candidates qualified for next week’s showdown.

They are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, billionaire environmental and progressive advocate and organizer Tom Steyer, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Sen. Kamala Harris of California had qualified for the debate, but she dropped out of the presidential race last week.

Original Article

Democrats unveil articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power, obstruction

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House Democrats on Tuesday announced articles of impeachment against President Trump alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regarding his interactions with Ukraine, touching off a rapid-fire sequence that could result in a momentous floor vote in a matter of days.

“The framers of the Constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said. "No one, not even the president, is above the law.”

While Republicans have blasted the process as political, dubbing it the "focus group impeachment" in response to reports that Democrats tested different allegations with focus groups, Democrats are moving swiftly ahead of the holiday break.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., directed the Judiciary Committee to proceed with drafting the measures just last week.

"The clock and the calendar should not be the basis for impeachment," House Judiciary Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" minutes before the announcement.

IMPEACHMENT TENSIONS FLARE: DEM COUNSEL SAYS TRUMP ABUSED POWER, AS GOP RIPS 'RUBBER STAMP' HEARING

It is unclear, at this point, whether Democrats’ articles focused on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress will reach beyond the Ukraine controversy and into former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Mueller found no evidence of conspiracy or coordination between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election but left the door open to whether the president obstructed the federal probe — a point that Democrats have made in the public hearing phase of the House impeachment inquiry.

Absent from the planned charges is a “bribery” count, which Democrats have repeatedly accused the president of in regards to his highly controversial July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — in which he pressured him to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings with Ukraine.

Pelosi held a meeting in her office Monday night with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., after a hearing held by Nadler’s committee that featured lawyers laying out the evidence for and against impeachment.

In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution's high bar of "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

GOP LAWYER TURNS IMPEACHMENT TABLES BY SCORCHING BIDENS AT HEARING

At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s efforts to press Zelensky to launch politically related investigations—regarding Joe Biden's effort to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been looking into the natural gas firm where his son Hunter served on the board.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats have argued shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

Original Article

Biden says AOC doesn’t represent views of most Democrats: You ‘got it all wrong’

closeJoe Biden has heated exchange with Iowa voter over Hunter Biden's work in UkraineVideo

Joe Biden has heated exchange with Iowa voter over Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden calls Iowa voter 'a damned liar' at campaign event; reaction from Ford O'Connell, former adviser to the McCain-Palin campaign, and Jose Aristimuno, former deputy national press secretary for the DNC.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, in an interview to air this Sunday, said that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is out of step with the mainstream of the Democratic Party and that media outlets reporting that the party has moved to the left have misjudged the political situation.

Biden was asked in an interview with “Axios on HBO” what he thought of “Medicare-for-all” plans being pushed by 2020 presidential rivals Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. While Biden has called for health care reform, he has warned against a full-blown government-run takeover.

BIDEN LASHES OUT AT TOWN HALL QUESTIONER IN HEATED EXCHANGE: 'YOU'RE A DAMN LIAR, MAN'

“The party’s not there, the party’s not there at all,” he said.

He went on to accuse to the media of misjudging what the ascension of Ocasio-Cortez to the House of Representatives meant for the direction of the Democratic Party.

"You guys got it all wrong about what happened," Biden said.

Ocasio-Cortez, along with other radical left-wing freshman who have grouped together as the “Squad,” has proved highly influential since being sworn in and has helped move once-fringe proposals such as the Green New Deal into the Democratic mainstream.

But Biden pushed back against the claim that she represents a broader shift to the left by the Dems.

AOC CALLED OUT AFTER CLAIMING TRUMP FOOD-STAMP REVISIONS MIGHT HAVE LEFT HER FAMILY 'STARVED'

AOC's star power 'galloping' party to the left: Chris PlanteVideo

"It's just bad judgment. You all thought that what happened was the party moved extremely to the left after Hillary. AOC was a new party, She's a bright, wonderful person. But where's the party? Come on, man," Biden said.

The comments tap into what is the central ideological debate as the Democrats pick who will face off against President Trump in 2020. Biden represents the most prominent more centrist Democrat, while Warren and Sanders — two of the Democrats behind him in the polls — represent a more radical left-wing shift. Warren, in particular, has made "Medicare-for-all" a centerpiece of her campaign.

Neither Ocasio-Cortez's office nor Warren's campaign immediately responded to requests for comment on Biden's remarks.

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Warren has been struggling in the polls, however, since the release of her "Medicare-for-all" plan last month, with a recent Quinnipiac poll showing her numbers slashed in half from 28 percent to 14 percent from the month before.

That poll showed her now relegated to fourth place, with Sanders dropping to fifth as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who has also been critical of some "Medicare-for-all" plans — has surged into second place.

Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Original Article

Democrats’ impeachment case less than ironclad, Washington Post editorial board says

closeMartha MacCallum says Jonathan Turley is laying out a cautionary tale on impeachmentVideo

Martha MacCallum says Jonathan Turley is laying out a cautionary tale on impeachment

Like a building, impeachment needs a foundation broad enough to support it, says Professor Jonathan Turley; reaction and analysis from Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum.

The Washington Post’s editorial board seems to have doubts about the House Democrats' impeachment push.

Following Wednesday's intense hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee, the newspaper's board summed up an editorial by saying Democrats seem to need a stronger case against President Trump if they hope to "convince more Americans" that their process was being conducted fairly.

The editorial, titled “Jonathan Turley is half-right,” is not a case for Trump’s exoneration in regard to his Ukraine dealings, but it does point out some holes in the Democrats' arguments that the president's supporters have seized on.

For instance, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on Wednesday asked all four legal scholars appearing before the panel to raise their hand if they had any "personal knowledge" of a single material fact in Rep. Adam Schiff's recently released report. No hands went up.

Turley to Democrats: 'The problem is not that abuse of power can never be an impeachable offense -- you just have to prove it, and you haven't'Video

READ TURLEY'S TESTIMONY

Turley, the sole Republican witness, did not defend Trump, but said this “is not how you impeach an American president.” He added that he was concerned about the integrity of the impeachment process.

“This case is not a case of the unknowable,” he said. “It’s a case of the peripheral. We have a record of conflicts, defenses that have not been fully considered, unsubpoenaed witnesses with material evidence. To impeach a president on this record would expose every future president to the same kind of inchoate impeachment.”

The Post criticized Trump and his “lawless embargo of the House’s impeachment proceeding” by preventing witnesses like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton from testifying. But the editorial board appeared to heed some of Turley's message.

“We do not blame the Democrats for feeling frustrated,” the editorial says. “And they may rightly think they already have all the evidence they need. But if they could strengthen the case, they should do so. Because the stakes are so high, extra time may be justified if it results in testimony from administration witnesses. This also might convince more Americans that the impeachment process has been conducted thoroughly.”

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, Trump pressed Zelensky for investigations that could help him politically, including relating to former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

The editorial says Turley was incorrect to downplay what has come to light in the past few weeks, including the rough transcript of Trump's call with Zelensky, where the president asked for a “favor.” The paper also points to testimony from officials who claimed that Trump withheld promised military aid.

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"In my view, there is no case law that would support a claim of corrupt intent in such comments to support a bribery charge,” Turley said. Still, he said, “There is no question that an investigation of the Bidens would help President Trump politically."

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report

Original Article

Democrats lay ground work for including Mueller findings in impeachment articles

closeNadler opens House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing: 'The facts before us are undisputed'Video

Nadler opens House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing: 'The facts before us are undisputed'

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler delivers an opening statement to a public hearing with four law professors on the legal case for impeaching President Trump.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee appeared to lay the groundwork Wednesday for including the findings from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

In his opening statement, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., linked Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election with the allegations that Trump asked the Ukrainian president earlier this year to investigate a political rival in the 2020 election.

"President Trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election, he demanded it for the 2020 election,” Nadler said. “In both cases, he got caught and, in both cases, he did everything in power to prevent the American people from learning about his conduct."

HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HEARING ON TRUMP IMPEACHMENT: LIVE UPDATES

Several of the Democratic legal experts referenced the Mueller report during their testimony.

One witness on Wednesday, University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt, told lawmakers in his opening statement, “The Mueller Report found at least five instances of the president’s obstruction of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia.”

He added, “Taken either individually or collectively, these instances are strong evidence of criminal obstruction of justice.”

House Democrats investigating whether Trump lied to Mueller during Russia probeVideo

While Trump and Republicans have claimed that Mueller’s report exonerated him of any wrongdoing and should be put to rest, some Democrats have suggested recently that the report’s findings regarding obstruction of justice mean it should be included in any articles of impeachment.

“Obstruction of justice, I think, is too clear not to include” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said Tuesday in an interview with McClatchy.

Adding the findings from the Mueller report to any possible articles of impeachment is a controversial matter within the Democratic Party, with more liberal Democrats pushing to have the report included. More centrist and moderate Democrats, however, prefer to stick with the Ukraine matter as a simpler narrative that Americans understand.

In the nearly 500 page report which was released to the public in April, Mueller and his team found that Russia worked "in sweeping and systematic fashion" to influence the 2016 elections and that the Trump campaign welcomed Moscow’s maneuvers, but that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the campaign ever "coordinated or conspired with the Russian government in its election-interference activities."

Mueller also decided not to pass judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice during the investigation and left it up to Congress to decide whether the president committed an impeachable offense.

During its hearings in the impeachment inquiry, the House Intelligence Committee did not focus on the Mueller report – instead honing in on whether Trump abused his office as he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in the country. At the time, Trump was withholding $400 million in military aid, jeopardizing key support as Ukraine faced an aggressive Russia at its border.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said no decision has been made on whether there will be a House vote on impeaching Trump.

Chris Wallace: Democrats not searching for justice or wisdomVideo

The Judiciary panel responsible for drafting articles of impeachment convened as Trump's team was fanning out across Capitol Hill. Vice President Mike Pence met behind closed doors with House Republicans, and Senate Republicans were to huddle with the White House counsel as GOP lawmakers stand with the president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Democrats vote to adopt Trump impeachment report, blast scheme to ‘solicit foreign interference’ in 2020 race

closeHouse Intelligence Committee Democrats release impeachment reportVideo

House Intelligence Committee Democrats release impeachment report

The report accuses President Trump of misusing his office to solicit election help from Ukraine; reaction and analysis from Bret Baier, anchor of 'Special Report.'

The Democrat-led House Intelligence Committee late Tuesday voted to adopt and issue its scathing report on the findings from the panel's impeachment inquiry, accusing President Trump of misusing his office to seek foreign help in the 2020 presidential race.

The 13-9 party-line vote on the 300-page report was a necessary step before the document could be transferred to the House Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to begin taking up the case with its first formal impeachment hearing Wednesday morning.

However, a senior member of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's leadership team told Fox News in the evening that it seems unlikely the House can vote on impeachment before Christmas, saying it's "too complex" a process.

READ: HOUSE DEMOCRATS' IMPEACHMENT REPORT

"President Trump’s scheme subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign," the Democrats' report said.

It asserted the inquiry "uncovered a months-long effort by President Trump to use the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference on his behalf in the 2020 election."

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham swiftly hit back in a statement slamming the nature of the Intelligence Committee's inquiry and claiming it failed to prove any wrongdoing on Trump's part.

“At the end of a one-sided sham process, Chairman Schiff and the Democrats utterly failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump,” Grisham said. "This report reflects nothing more than their frustrations. Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there is evidence of nothing.”

The Intelligence Committee, led by Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., conducted extensive interviews with witnesses connected to the Trump administration’s relationship with Ukraine, after an anonymous whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that during a July 25 phone call, Trump tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to help Rudy Giuliani investigate Democratic activities in 2016 as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Rep. Adam Schiff lays out findings of House Democrats' impeachment investigationVideo

"The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation’s upcoming presidential election to his advantage," the report said. "In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security."

Schiff also tweeted: "The impeachment inquiry uncovered overwhelming and uncontested evidence that President Trump abused the powers of his office to solicit foreign interference in our election for his own personal, political gain."

Schiff’s committee held closed-door sessions before opening up the inquiry to public hearings, which featured testimony from witnesses including National Security Council official Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

The report concluded that Trump withheld nearly $391 million in military aid from Ukraine, conditioning its delivery as well as a White House visit with Zelensky on a public announcement that Zelensky was conducting the investigations. It also accuses Trump of obstruction for instructing witnesses not to comply with congressional subpoenas.

ZELENSKY RIPS US AID DELAY, BUT SAYS HE NEVER DISCUSSED QUID PRO QUO WITH TRUMP

The report also alleges that Trump intimidated witnesses through statements he made about Yovanovitch, Vindman, Chargé d’Affaires for U.S. Embassy in Kiev William Taylor, and Jennifer Williams, special adviser for Europe and Russia in the Office of the Vice President.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and said his call with Zelensky was “perfect,” while maintaining there was no such quid pro quo tying aid to investigations. One key witness, E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, alleged a clear quid pro quo involving a White House meeting and a "potential quid pro quo" involving the aid — but also acknowledged he never heard those conditions from Trump directly.

Zelensky has also denied there was any pressure put on him or any talk of a quid pro quo between the two leaders, but he did recently criticize the decision to delay the aid.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet US President Donald Trump and wife Melania at Clarence House on December 3, 2019 in London, England. France and the UK signed the Treaty of Dunkirk in 1947 in the aftermath of WW2 cementing a mutual alliance in the event of an attack by Germany or the Soviet Union. The Benelux countries joined the Treaty and in April 1949 expanded further to include North America and Canada followed by Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. This new military alliance became the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The organisation grew with Greece and Turkey becoming members and a re-armed West Germany was permitted in 1955. This encouraged the creation of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact delineating the two sides of the Cold War. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 03: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meet US President Donald Trump and wife Melania at Clarence House on December 3, 2019 in London, England. France and the UK signed the Treaty of Dunkirk in 1947 in the aftermath of WW2 cementing a mutual alliance in the event of an attack by Germany or the Soviet Union. The Benelux countries joined the Treaty and in April 1949 expanded further to include North America and Canada followed by Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. This new military alliance became the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The organisation grew with Greece and Turkey becoming members and a re-armed West Germany was permitted in 1955. This encouraged the creation of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact delineating the two sides of the Cold War. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO. (Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images) (Getty)

The Democrats' report said that Trump's phone call with Zelensky was not the only incident at issue, "[r]ather, it was a dramatic crescendo within a months-long campaign driven by President Trump in which senior U.S. officials, including the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Acting Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Energy, and others were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the President."

Republicans drafted a report of their own, which rejected the Democratic majority's claims.

"The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” the GOP report said.

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With the Intelligence Committee’s report in their hands, the Judiciary Committee is next going to call constitutional law experts to testify regarding the relevant legal principles involved in impeachment, before determining whether or not to approve articles of impeachment, which would then go to the full House for a vote.

Articles thought to be under consideration cover accusations ranging from bribery to abuse of power to obstruction.

If the House should vote to impeach, the Senate would hold a trial, where a two-thirds majority would be needed to convict.

A Senate trial could also dig deeper into the issues Trump once sought to have investigated: Joe Biden's role ousting a Ukraine prosecutor who had been looking into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where his son Hunter had a lucrative board role.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Kellianne Jones contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump tears into impeachment inquiry, Democrats at Florida ‘homecoming rally’

closePresident Trump speaks at Keep America Great rally in Sunrise, FloridaVideo

President Trump speaks at Keep America Great rally in Sunrise, Florida

President Trump took the stage in Sunrise, Fla. Tuesday night to address supporters at what his reelection campaign rally had dubbed a “homecoming rally” before the start of his Thanksgiving break at Mar-a-Lago, his new primary residence.

TRUMP USES TURKEY PARDON TO MOCK SCHIFF, SAYS BIRDS ALREADY RECEIVED SUBPOENAS

Tuesday's rally marked his first official campaign visit to the Sunshine State since he changed his state of residence from New York.

Trump claimed the move was motivated by the poor treatment he was receiving from New York politicians investigating him. However, Florida's far more attractive tax rates could have played some part in the decision as well.

Winning Florida will be crucial for the president’s reelection. Trump won the state over Hillary Clinton by 110,000 votes, but Tuesday's rally took place in one of the most Democratic areas of the state. Clinton overwhelmingly won Broward County, where Sunrise is located, in 2016.

About 200 anti-Trump protesters rallied on a street outside the BB&T Center before the president arrived. They raised a helium-filled “Baby Trump” balloon, and some chanted, “Lock him up.”

However thousands inside the arena broke out in chants of "four more years," and "USA, USA." During Vice President Mike Pence's introductory remarks, a chant of "Conan, Conan" broke out when Pence mentioned the Belgian Malinois that played a starring role in the raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

"Our troops are coming home and Conan the hero dog is just fine," Pence told the crowd.

Trump told Florida voters he would head to the ballot box right alongside them in less than a year, promising to keep control of the House, win back the Senate, and "keep that beautiful White House."

The president touted his administration's record on the economy, noting that the stock market just reached another all-time high: "Everybody's getting rich and I'm working my a– off." He noted the 6.7 million new jobs created under his administration and the almost 600,000 jobs created in Florida since 2016.

Trump also defended his decision earlier this month to pardon two soldiers accused or convicted of war crimes, including Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance who was six years into a 19-year sentence for second-degree murder after he ordered his soldiers to open fire and kill three men in Afghanistan.

"We're going to take care of our warriors," the president said. "I will always stick up for our fighters, people can sit in their air-conditioned offices and complain."

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He then pivoted to impeachment, accusing what he called "the radical left Democrats" of "trying to rip our nation apart."

"First it was the Russia hoax, total hoax, a failed overthrow attempt and the biggest fraud in the history of our country," Trump said. "Now the same maniacs are pushing the deranged impeachment, a witch hunt the same as before."

However, the president pointed to polls that show the public to be ambivalent about impeachment.

"A lot of bad things are happening to them," he said. "You see what's happening in the polls? Everybody said, 'You know what? That's real bulls—."

This is a developing story, check back for more updates. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump campaign trolls Democrats with flyover ads by debate site: ‘Socialism will destroy Atlanta jobs’

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 20Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 20

Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 20 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

ATLANTA – The Trump campaign is making its presence known in Atlanta Wednesday with a print and aerial ad attack as Democratic candidates gather for the evening’s debate.

The president’s team prepared a full-page newspaper ad in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a large banner that will fly over the city.

BUTTIGIEG SLAMMED BY TRUMP CAMPAIGN'S BLACK OUTREACH INITIATIVE: 'WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY?'

“Democrats’ socialism will destroy Atlanta jobs,” the flyover banner reads. The newspaper ad goes into further detail regarding the effect a Democratic presidential victory could have both nationally and in Georgia.

The ad accuses Democrats of trying to “[e]liminate oil, gas & coal industries, killing 10 million jobs nationally & 150,000 in Georgia,” raise middle class taxes, ban offshore drilling, import energy from other countries “rather than helping American workers,” and impose a “[g]overnment takeover of healthcare, eliminating employer-provided insurance.”

The same ad contrasts this with Trump’s accomplishments during his first term, including the addition of 6 million new jobs.

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The ad is running on Wednesday’s newspaper and the flyover banner will appear in the skies over Atlanta until early evening hours before, the beginning of the Democratic debate, which will feature 10 of the top remaining candidates.

Original Article

Democrats’ make-or-break week of impeachment hearings kicks off, as contradictions surface in testimony

closePresident Trump slams another impeachment witness as he denies witness intimidationVideo

President Trump slams another impeachment witness as he denies witness intimidation

Trump tweets that Pence aide Jennifer Williams is a 'Never Trumper'; reaction from Robert Ray, former independent counsel for the Whitewater investigation.

Hearsay or not, here we go.

Beginning Tuesday morning, in a rush of five hearings ahead of the Thanksgiving recess, eight witnesses — including several who have provided inconsistent accounts of key events — are set to testify over three days in what could be a make-or-break week in House Democrats' impeachment investigation.

Less than 24 hours before the proceedings are set to be gaveled in at 9 a.m. ET, President Trump floated the idea of testifying, rather than tweeting, during the inquiry. A top Republican called for a last-minute postponement, citing secretive new developments behind closed doors. And, the Trump campaign has pointed out apparent inconsistencies in some witness testimony already on the record.

Though he's not slated to testify until Wednesday, the key witness expected to come up throughout the week is Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, the wealthy donor who has bragged about his proximity to President Trump — and who repeatedly has frustrated Democrats' narrative by contradicting several other key witnesses in the probe.

For example, Sondland previously testified behind closed doors that Trump explicitly told him there were to be "no quid pro quos of any kind" with Ukraine, and that he didn’t recall any conversations with the White House about withholding military assistance in return for Ukraine helping with the president’s political campaign. Democrats have alleged that Trump held up the aid to ensure a public probe into the Ukraine business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Amb. Gordon Sondland revises testimony to describe quid pro quo with UkraineVideo

Then, William Taylor, the U.S. chargé d'affaires for Ukraine, told lawmakers that Sondland himself said "everything" — a White House visit for Ukraine's new leader and the release of military aid to the former Soviet republic — was contingent on a public announcement of investigations into the 2016 election and into Ukraine gas company Burisma. Hunter Biden sat on its board.

Weeks later, after testimony from Taylor and National Security Council [NSC] official Tim Morrison placed him at the center of key discussions, Sondland suddenly amended his testimony and claimed his recollection had been "refreshed." Sondland said he now could recall a September conversation in which he told an aide to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that military aid likely would not occur until Ukraine made public announcements about corruption investigations. Sondland said he came to "understand" that arrangement from other sources.

Morrison, the NSC's outgoing senior director of European and Russian affairs and White House deputy assistant, is to testify Tuesday afternoon. In his closed-door deposition, which Democrats released over the weekend, Morrison said Trump didn't want tax dollars funding Ukrainian corruption, and remarked that he wasn't concerned Trump's calls with Ukraine's leader were tied to his political interests.

'CANNOT BE TRUE' — MAJOR INCONSISTENCY EMERGES IN BILL TAYLOR'S TESTIMONY

Additionally, Sondland has insisted he knew acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney only well enough to wave and say hello — and that’s about it. He said he may have spoken to him once or twice on the phone, but not about Ukraine. Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, has testified Sondland cited a discussion with Mulvaney when pushing Ukrainian officials to open the investigations that Trump wanted into the 2016 U.S. presidential election and into potential 2020 election opponent Joe Biden.

Vindman is scheduled to testify Tuesday morning. Republicans have further noted that Morrison has testified privately that he "had concerns about Lieutenant Colonel Vindman’s judgment" and had heard concerns that Vindman was a leaker.

Separately, Fiona Hill, another White House national security official, said Sondland often talked of meetings with Mulvaney. In a further link between the two men, she quoted the-then National Security Adviser John Bolton as telling her he didn’t want to be part of “whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney were cooking up.”

Hill is to testify Friday morning, after Sondland's appearance.

Fiona Hill transcript released, including confrontation with Rep. GaetzVideo

She also has recalled scolding Sondland face-to-face after tense July 10 meetings at the White House involving U.S. and Ukrainian leaders, reminding him of the need for proper procedures and the role of the National Security Council. She said Bolton "stiffened" when Sondland brought up investigations in front of the Ukrainian officials and immediately ended the meeting. Vindman, too, said he made clear to Sondland his comments were inappropriate "and that we were not going to get involved in investigations."

But, Sondland said he didn't recall a cross word from Hill, Bolton or anyone else about his Ukraine work. In fact, he said, Bolton signed off on the whole Ukraine strategy.

"Indeed, over the spring and summer of 2019, I received nothing but cordial responses from Ambassador Bolton and Dr. Hill. Nothing was ever raised to me about any concerns regarding our Ukrainian policy," Sondland said. When Hill left her post in government, he recalled, she gave him a big hug and told him to keep in touch.

GOP REP CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS TO BE POSTPONED IMMEDIATELY, CITING NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Testimony from multiple witnesses has centered on the July 10 White House meetings. Several of those present said Sondland, on that day, explicitly connected a coveted White House visit to the country’s public announcement of corruption investigations. It was something he just “blurted out,” Hill said, recalling him saying: "Well, we have an agreement with the Chief of Staff for a meeting if these 'investigations in the energy sector start."

Vindman, too, said he remembered Sondland saying that day that the Ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the Bidens.

But, Sondland told a different version of the day. He said he didn’t recall mentioning Ukraine investigations or Burisma. The only conflict he described from that day was a disagreement on whether to schedule a call between Trump and Zelensky promptly. He was in favor.

House investigators release impeachment testimony transcripts from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Fiona HillVideo

Sondland likely won't be the only witness in the impeachment inquiry facing credibility concerns this week. Late Monday, the Trump campaign pointed out that State Department official David Holmes' testimony concerning Trump's call with Sondland — in which Trump allegedly called for "investigations" — seemed to conflict with Taylor's remarks under oath.

Taylor, who testified before the House Intelligence Committee last Wednesday, said he had just learned about the July phone call this month. But, Holmes' timeline of events, according to a written statement from his closed-door interview, seemed to depart from Taylor's — saying he notified Taylor of the call shortly after it happened. Holmes is slated to testify Thursday.

For his part, Trump has insisted Democrats had been out to get him any way they could. The president has noted, for example, that The Washington Post discussed the push to impeach Trump just minutes after he took office in 2017 — and, the Ukraine whistleblower's lawyer openly called for a "coup" and impeachment around the same time. Prominent Democrats, including Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, rang in 2019 with colorful vows to impeach Trump.

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., sent a letter Monday to the panel's chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., panning what he called the "Democrat impeachment crusade" for lacking the "due process protections afforded in all past presidential impeachments, including those protections afforded to President Clinton by Republicans."

Collins continued, "It is an unfair process for many other reasons, chief among them the fact that minority questions are not being answered in depositions and the president’s counsel has had no voice in the fact-gathering phase of this impeachment inquiry."

WHY IS SONDLAND WORRYING BOTH DEMS AND GOP?

For his part, Trump revealed Monday he was considering an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to provide his own account to the House, possibly by submitting written testimony. That would be an unprecedented moment in this constitutional showdown between the two branches of U.S. government.

Trump tweeted: “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”

But, a Democratic official working on the impeachment probe told Fox News on Monday that they weren't taking the offer seriously.

"If President Trump were serious about providing information to our investigation, he’d stop obstructing his administration from providing documents and people to provide testimony," the official said. "There are people who could testify, including John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney. This is not serious. We're not going to play that game."

Tuesday’s sessions at the House Intelligence Committee are to start with Vindman, an Army officer at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, his counterpart at Vice President Mike Pence’s office.

The witnesses, both foreign policy experts, said they listened with concern as Trump spoke on July 25 with the newly elected Ukraine president. The government whistleblower’s complaint about that call led the House to launch the impeachment investigation.

House Republicans call on Nancy Pelosi to release impeachment transcriptsVideo

Vindman and Williams said they were uneasy as Trump talked to Zelensky about investigations of the Bidens. Vindman also said he reported the call to NSC lawyers.

Williams said she found it "unusual" and inserted the White House's readout of it in Pence's briefing book.

"I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen," Vindman said, adding there was "no doubt" what Trump wanted.

WATCH: BANNON SAYS HE PUSHED FOR ALLEGED WHISTLEBLOWER TO BE OUSTED FROM NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, CITING LEAK CONCERNS

Pence's role remained unclear. "I just don't know if he read it," Williams testified in a closed-door House interview.

Vindman also lodged concerns about Sondland, relaying details from the explosive July 10 meeting at the White House and saying the ambassador pushed visiting Ukraine officials for the investigations Trump wanted.

"He was talking about the 2016 elections and an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma," Vindman testified.

Morrison referred to Burisma as a "bucket of issues" — the Bidens, Democrats, investigations — from which he had tried to "stay away."

Tim Morrison is third White House official to resign before testifying in impeachment inquiryVideo

Along with Volker's testimony, their accounts further complicated Sondland’s testimony and characterized Trump as more central to the action.

Sondland met with a Zelensky aide on the sidelines of a Sept. 1 gathering in Warsaw, Poland, and Morrison, who was watching the encounter from across the room, testified that the ambassador told him moments later he pushed the Ukrainian for the Burisma investigation as a way for Ukraine to gain access to the military funds.

WH OFFICIAL SUES POLITICO, TARGETS SCHIFF'S ROLE IN IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS

Volker provided investigators with a package of text messages with Sondland and Taylor, who said he grew alarmed at the possible linkage of the investigations to the aid.

Republicans are certain to mount a more aggressive attack on all the witnesses as the inquiry has reached closer into the White House.

The president has aimed to see a robust defense by his GOP allies on Capitol Hill, but so far they have offered a changing strategy as the fast-moving probe spilled into public view.

Republicans first complained the witnesses were offering only hearsay, without first-hand knowledge of Trump’s actions. But, as more witnesses came forward bringing testimony closer to Trump, they more recently have said the president was innocent because the military money eventually was released.

President Trump to consider testifying in impeachment inquiry after Pelosi inviteVideo

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during an appearance Monday in Louisville, Kentucky, acknowledged the House will likely vote to impeach the president.

But, the GOP leader said he "can't imagine" a scenario in which there would be enough support in the Senate — a supermajority 67 votes — to remove Trump from office.

McConnell said House Democrats "are seized with 'Trump derangement syndrome,'" a catch-phrase used by the president's supporters. He said the inquiry seemed "particularly ridiculous since we're going into the presidential election and the American people will have an opportunity in the very near future to decide who they want the next president to be."

Pelosi, though, said the president could speak for himself.

"If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it," she said in a CBS News interview that aired Sunday. Trump "could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants," she said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump "should come to the committee and testify under oath, and he should allow all those around him to come to the committee and testify under oath." He said the White House's insistence on blocking witnesses from cooperating raised the question: "What is he hiding?"

The White House has instructed officials not to appear, and most have received congressional subpoenas to compel their testimony.

Those appearing in public already have given closed-door interviews to investigators, and transcripts from those depositions largely have been released.

Sondland is to appear Wednesday. The wealthy hotelier, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, was the only person interviewed to date who had direct conversations with the president about the Ukraine situation.

Morrison said Sondland and Trump had spoken about five times between July 15 and Sept. 11 — the weeks that $391 million in U.S. assistance was withheld from Ukraine before it was released.

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Trump has said he barely knew Sondland.

Besides Sondland, the committee is set to hear Wednesday from Laura Cooper, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, and David Hale, a State Department official.

Fox News' Chad Pergram, Brooke Singman, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump fan hit with scooter as protest outside California Democrats convention turns violent: report

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Three suspects were arrested Saturday after a fight broke out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters outside the California Democratic Convention in Long Beach.

About a dozen Trump supporters stood outside the Long Beach Convention Center, using bullhorns and chanting “Four more years!" according to The Long Beach Post.

ANTIFA-LINKED DEFENDANT GETS 6 YEARS IN BRUTAL BATON ATTACK IN PORTLAND: REPORTS

Two men approached the Trump supporters and started "harassing" them, according to one of the Trump supporters. At some point one of the anti-Trump protesters hit one of the Trump supporters in the face with a manual scooter, according to The Post.

“It happened really fast,” Trump supporter Raul Rodriguez Jr. said. He said the anti-Trump protesters started the fight.

Rodriguez said the protester grabbed his bull horn after he turned on its siren and put it in his face. He said the protester tried to hit him, prompting another Trump supporter to defend Rodriguez.

Police arrested all three men on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon that is not a firearm.

Two of the suspects were taken to the hospital with minor cuts.

It wasn’t clear who started the physical fight, The Post reported.

The Long Beach Police Department "is committed to ensuring everyone’s 1st Amendment rights, but we also want to remind you that any violence of any kind will not be tolerated in our community," the department said in a tweet.

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Eight Democratic presidential candidates attended the convention Saturday.

Original Article

Fox News Poll: Close races between Trump and Democrats in North Carolina

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Trump: Impeachment inquiry a 'sham'

Reaction and analysis from Trump 2020 campaign national press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

North Carolina voters give President Trump mixed reviews on his job performance and about half oppose his impeachment. That leads to tight races in 2020 ballot tests, according to a Fox News Poll of North Carolina voters.

In hypothetical matchups, Joe Biden edges Trump by two points and Bernie Sanders is up by one. The president tops Elizabeth Warren by one point and Pete Buttigieg by four. Each race is within the poll’s margin of error. There is added uncertainty considering no candidate hits 50 percent and 11-18 percent are undecided.

Trump topped Hillary Clinton by nearly 4 points in the Tar Heel State. Ninety-four percent of Republicans voted for him in 2016. Today, 91 percent of Republicans approve of the job he’s doing and 89 percent back him in the matchup against Biden.

“As North Carolina has grown in recent years, it’s developed into one of the most competitive states in the country,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who partners with Democrat Chris Anderson on the Fox News Poll. “It’s difficult to think of a scenario where Trump wins re-election without carrying the state.”

Roughly equal numbers of North Carolina voters approve (47 percent) of Trump’s job performance as disapprove (50 percent).

Forty-two percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, 3 percent say impeached but not removed, and 47 percent oppose impeachment. More Republicans (89 percent) oppose impeachment than Democrats favor (79 percent).

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS

The poll was conducted November 10-13, which includes one night after the House Intelligence Committee held televised hearings Wednesday.

Turning to the Democratic race, strong support among African American voters gives Biden a commanding lead in North Carolina’s primary, which will be held March 3, 2020.

Overall, Biden captures 37 percent among Democratic primary voters, more than double the support of any competitor. Warren receives 15 percent and Sanders 14 percent.

Buttigieg garners 6 percent and Kamala Harris 4 percent. Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang stand at 2 percent apiece. Michael Bennett, Steve Bullock, and Amy Klobuchar each receive 1 percent.

About half of black voters support Biden (49 percent). That’s more than 30 points higher than Warren and Sanders (12 percent each).

Biden also leads among voters over age 65 (+39 points), moderates (+20), and whites (+11).

The only group Warren wins is self-described “very liberals,” and even here she narrowly tops Sanders (by 4 points) and Biden (by 5 points).

Sanders’ only win is among voters under age 35, where he bests Biden by 10.

“Polling outside of the early states illustrates what broad goodwill Democratic primary voters have for Biden, especially among black voters,” says Anderson. “Places where campaigning is currently less intense, he starts with a built-in advantage that could pay dividends once the primaries move beyond the early states.”

North Carolina Democrats split 45-45 percent when choosing between a candidate who will build on former President Obama’s legacy and one who will take a new and different approach.

Biden is the favorite by 29 points among those wanting to build on Obama’s legacy and by 14 points for those favoring a new approach.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of Democratic primary voters say it is extremely important to nominate a candidate who can beat Trump compared to 41 percent who feel it is extremely important the nominee shares their views on major issues.

North Carolina Senate

By a 40-35 percent margin, North Carolina voters approve of the job Republican incumbent Thom Tillis is doing as their senator. One in four (25 percent) is unsure, including 22 percent of Republicans.

Elected in 2014, Tillis is facing two challengers in the senate primary. He leads with the support of 54 percent of GOP primary voters, while Garland Tucker receives 11 percent and Sandy Smith 4 percent. Twenty-six percent are undecided and 5 percent say other.

Things are more uncertain on the other side, as the three declared Democrats are all under 20 percent: Erica Smith receives 18 percent, Cal Cunningham 13 percent, and Trevor Fuller 10 percent. Most Democratic primary voters are undecided (49 percent) or say they will support someone else (10 percent).

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Pollpourri

Is the U.S. electorate an equal opportunity employer? Two-thirds of North Carolina voters think the country is ready to elect a woman president. That drops to 54 percent for a Jewish president, 49 percent a Latino/Hispanic president, and 30 percent a gay/lesbian president.

By a 24-point margin, more Democrats than Republicans believe the nation is ready for a woman president. Democrats are also more likely to say Americans are ready to elect someone who is Jewish (by 7 points), Latino/Hispanic (by 11 points), or gay (by 17 points).

Conducted November 10-13, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,504 North Carolina voters who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. Respondents were randomly selected from a statewide voter file, and 669 were screened to identify potential participants in the Democratic primary and 574 the GOP primary. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all registered voters, 3.5 points for Democratic primary voters, and 4 points for GOP primary voters.

Original Article