Red-State Democrats Worry Impeachment Will Backfire
Red-state Senate Democrats hoping to win back a majority next year are worried that the House impeachment proceedings may suffer from ‘mission creep’ and cost them a win, according to The Hill‘s Alexander Bolton.
“It’s really incumbent on the House to really be laser-focused. The president is a master of pivoting and deflecting and I think it’s really important to stay focused,” said Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, who barely won his 2018 re-election in the very red state. Tester thinks the impeachment inquiry should revolve around Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – currently at the heart of a second-hand whistleblower complaint by a CIA employee.
While initial reports in the mainstream media suggested that Trump pressured Zelensky, followed by word that nearly $400 million in paused US military aid was linked to the ‘threat,’ a release of the call transcript revealed no such threat, while later reporting revealed that Zelensky had no clue the military aid had been withheld pending a corruption review of Ukraine by the Trump administration.
“I think it’s much better if it’s going to be focused because there’s a whole load of hay out there that they’ve been talking about for so long,” said West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, adding “I just think anytime a foreign entity is involved, it needs to be investigated.”
Manchin isn’t sure his warnings will be heeded, particularly since many liberal Democrats favor a broader investigation that would pull in efforts related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, along with complaints that Trump has used his office to benefit his businesses.
At the same time, Democratic leaders in both chambers appear to want to keep the focus on Ukraine, particularly as polls showing a growing number of voters back impeachment.
One Democratic senator who requested anonymity to discuss the dynamics within the Democratic caucus said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) has told his colleagues that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants to keep the scope of the impeachment inquiry as narrow as possible.
The senator, who favors a broader scope, said that “people are worried” about potential political fallout within the Democratic caucus.
“The stakes go up for both sides at this point,” the source added. –The Hill
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that impeachment proceedings would initially focus on Trump and Ukraine – saying there was a “consensus in our caucus” that Ukraine “is the focus of the moment because this is the charge,” referring to the CIA employee’s complaint – which was lodged on a form which was recently changed to allow second-hand whistleblower information.
“Obviously we need to get to the bottom of all this quickly,” said Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama – another red-state Democrat up for re-election next year. Jones doesn’t want impeachment to overshadow trade negotiations with Mexico and Canada, or a multi-year highway authorization bill. “I want it to come to a head as quickly as possible. I think the American people deserve it to be resolved one way or another,” he added.
Jones said the pending USMCA trade deal, which is now in jeopardy because of the brewing impeachment fight, is “a good thing for the state of Alabama.”
“I think there’s a lot of things that may get lost in the shuffle of this,” he said. “You obviously worried that you’ll get consumed but at the same time the Senate has not had a good track record this year legislating.”
At the same time, Jones, running as a Democrat in a state that Trump won by nearly 30 points in 2016, says that the gravity of the allegations against Trump are bigger than politics.
“Don’t ask me whether or not this is going to affect my election in 2020. Don’t ask me if it’s going to affect Joe Biden or Donald Trump,” he said on the Senate floor Thursday. “Ask me what is going to happen to the Constitution.” –The Hill
The Hill cites a new CNN poll showing that 47% of Americans now back impeaching Trump – up from 41% in May, while a CBS News poll showed that 55% of Americans now support the impeachment inquiry.
Of course, lots of polls predicted lots of things in 2016 too…
Wed, 10/02/2019 – 19:15