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Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-giuliani1-facebookJumbo Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Parnas, Lev Lutsenko, Yuri V Justice Department impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Campaign Finance Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter Berman, Geoffrey S

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they sought in removing Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, but he acknowledged that he and the associates worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about Ms. Yovanovitch and other targets of Mr. Trump and his allies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden. Mr. Giuliani shared that material this year with American government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

Federal law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Law enforcement officials have made clear in recent years that covert foreign influence is as great a threat to the country as spies trying to steal government secrets.

A criminal investigation of Mr. Giuliani raises the stakes of the Ukraine scandal for the president, whose dealings with the country are already the subject of an impeachment inquiry. It is also a stark turn for Mr. Giuliani, who now finds himself under scrutiny from the same United States attorney’s office he led in the 1980s, when he first rose to prominence as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and later ascended to two terms as mayor of New York.

It was unclear how far the investigation has progressed, and there was no indication that prosecutors in Manhattan have decided to file additional charges in the case. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, declined to comment.

Mr. Giuliani said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because he said he was acting on behalf of Mr. Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Ms. Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the American government and the news media.

“Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States,” Mr. Giuliani said. Mr. Lutsenko had chafed at Ms. Yovanovitch’s anticorruption efforts and wanted her recalled from Kiev.

Mr. Giuliani also said he was unaware of any investigation into him, and he defended the pressure campaign on Ukrainians, which he led, as legal and above board.

CNN and other news organizations reported that federal prosecutors were scrutinizing Mr. Giuliani’s financial dealings with his associates, but it has not been previously reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are specifically investigating whether he violated foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators on Friday that Mr. Trump had pressed for her removal for months even though the State Department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

Mr. Giuliani had receded from the spotlight in recent years while he built a brisk international consulting business, including work in Ukraine. But he re-emerged in the center of the political stage last year, when Mr. Trump retained him for the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Russia’s sabotage also ushered in a new focus at the Justice Department on enforcing the laws regulating foreign influence that had essentially sat dormant for a half-century and under which Mr. Giuliani is now being investigated.

Through his two associates who also worked to oust the ambassador, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Mr. Giuliani connected early this year with Mr. Lutsenko, who served as Ukraine’s top prosecutor until August. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had previously connected Mr. Giuliani to Mr. Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, late last year.

Mr. Parnas had told people that Ms. Yovanovitch was stymieing his efforts to pursue gas business in Ukraine. Mr. Parnas also told people that one of his companies had paid Mr. Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for an unrelated American business venture, and Mr. Giuliani said he advised Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman on a Ukrainian dispute.

Mr. Lutsenko had sought to relay the information he had collected on Mr. Trump’s targets to American law enforcement agencies and saw Mr. Giuliani as someone who could make that happen. Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Lutsenko initially spoke over the phone and then met in person in New York in January.

Mr. Lutsenko initially asked Mr. Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said, he interviewed Mr. Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his employees — a “professional investigator who works for my company” — write memos detailing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ claims about Ms. Yovanovitch, Mr. Biden and others.

Mr. Giuliani said he provided those memos to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this year and was told that the State Department passed the memos to the F.B.I. He did not say who told him.

Mr. Giuliani said he also gave the memos to the columnist, John Solomon, who worked at the time for The Hill newspaper and published articles and videos critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, the Bidens and other Trump targets. It was unclear to what degree Mr. Giuliani’s memos served as fodder for Mr. Solomon, who independently interviewed Mr. Lutsenko and other sources.

Mr. Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lobbying disclosure law contains an exemption for legal work, and Mr. Giuliani said his efforts to unearth information and push both for investigations in Ukraine and for news coverage of his findings originated with his defense of Mr. Trump in the special counsel’s investigation.

He acknowledged that his work morphed into a more general dragnet for dirt on Mr. Trump’s targets but said that it was difficult to separate those lines of inquiry from his original mission of discrediting the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.

Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Lutsenko never specifically asked him to try to force Ms. Yovanovitch’s recall, saying he concluded himself that Mr. Lutsenko probably wanted her fired because he had complained that she was stifling his investigations.

“He didn’t say to me, ‘I came here to get Yovanovitch fired.’ He came here because he said he had been trying to transmit this information to your government for the past year, and had been unable to do it,” Mr. Giuliani said of his meeting in New York with Mr. Lutsenko. “I transmitted the information to the right people.”

The president sought to distance himself earlier on Friday from Mr. Giuliani, saying he was uncertain when asked whether Mr. Giuliani still represented him. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I spoke to him yesterday quickly. He is a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.”

Mr. Giuliani later said that he still represented Mr. Trump.

The recall of the ambassador and the efforts by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to push for investigations in Ukraine have emerged as the focus of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

The impeachment was prompted by a whistle-blower complaint about Mr. Trump pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in a July phone call to pursue investigations that could help Mr. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. At the time, the Trump administration had frozen $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

The State Department’s inspector general has turned over to House impeachment investigators a packet of materials including the memos containing notes of Mr. Giuliani’s interviews with Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Shokin.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is the latest to scrutinize one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers. His former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, implicated the president when he pleaded guilty last year to making hush payments during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed affairs with Mr. Trump, which he has denied.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned Mr. Trump as “Individual 1” in court papers but never formally accused him of wrongdoing.

Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work

Westlake Legal Group 11dc-giuliani1-facebookJumbo Giuliani Is Said to Be Under Investigation for Ukraine Work Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Parnas, Lev Lutsenko, Yuri V Justice Department impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W Fruman, Igor Campaign Finance Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter Berman, Geoffrey S

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said. She was recalled in the spring as part of Mr. Trump’s broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping his political prospects.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is tied to the case against two of his associates who were arrested this week on campaign finance-related charges, the people familiar with the inquiry said. The associates were charged with funneling illegal contributions to a congressman whose help they sought in removing Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, but he acknowledged that he and the associates worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about Ms. Yovanovitch and other targets of Mr. Trump and his allies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden. Mr. Giuliani shared that material this year with American government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

Federal law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Law enforcement officials have made clear in recent years that covert foreign influence is as great a threat to the country as spies trying to steal government secrets.

A criminal investigation of Mr. Giuliani raises the stakes of the Ukraine scandal for the president, whose dealings with the country are already the subject of an impeachment inquiry. It is also a stark turn for Mr. Giuliani, who now finds himself under scrutiny from the same United States attorney’s office he led in the 1980s, when he first rose to prominence as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and later ascended to two terms as mayor of New York.

It was unclear how far the investigation has progressed, and there was no indication that prosecutors in Manhattan have decided to file additional charges in the case. A spokeswoman for the United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey S. Berman, declined to comment.

Mr. Giuliani said that federal prosecutors had no grounds to charge him with foreign lobbying disclosure violations because he said he was acting on behalf of Mr. Trump, not the Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, when he collected the information on Ms. Yovanovitch and the others and relayed it to the American government and the news media.

“Look, you can try to contort anything into anything, but if they have any degree of objectivity or fairness, it would be kind of ridiculous to say I was doing it on Lutsenko’s behalf when I was representing the president of the United States,” Mr. Giuliani said. Mr. Lutsenko had chafed at Ms. Yovanovitch’s anticorruption efforts and wanted her recalled from Kiev.

Mr. Giuliani also said he was unaware of any investigation into him, and he defended the pressure campaign on Ukrainians, which he led, as legal and above board.

CNN and other news organizations reported that federal prosecutors were scrutinizing Mr. Giuliani’s financial dealings with his associates, but it has not been previously reported that federal prosecutors in Manhattan are specifically investigating whether he violated foreign lobbying laws in his work in Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch told impeachment investigators on Friday that Mr. Trump had pressed for her removal for months even though the State Department believed she had “done nothing wrong.”

Mr. Giuliani had receded from the spotlight in recent years while he built a brisk international consulting business, including work in Ukraine. But he re-emerged in the center of the political stage last year, when Mr. Trump retained him for the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Russia’s sabotage also ushered in a new focus at the Justice Department on enforcing the laws regulating foreign influence that had essentially sat dormant for a half-century and under which Mr. Giuliani is now being investigated.

Through his two associates who also worked to oust the ambassador, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Mr. Giuliani connected early this year with Mr. Lutsenko, who served as Ukraine’s top prosecutor until August. Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had previously connected Mr. Giuliani to Mr. Lutsenko’s predecessor, Viktor Shokin, late last year.

Mr. Parnas had told people that Ms. Yovanovitch was stymieing his efforts to pursue gas business in Ukraine. Mr. Parnas also told people that one of his companies had paid Mr. Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for an unrelated American business venture, and Mr. Giuliani said he advised Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman on a Ukrainian dispute.

Mr. Lutsenko had sought to relay the information he had collected on Mr. Trump’s targets to American law enforcement agencies and saw Mr. Giuliani as someone who could make that happen. Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Lutsenko initially spoke over the phone and then met in person in New York in January.

Mr. Lutsenko initially asked Mr. Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said, he interviewed Mr. Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his employees — a “professional investigator who works for my company” — write memos detailing the Ukrainian prosecutors’ claims about Ms. Yovanovitch, Mr. Biden and others.

Mr. Giuliani said he provided those memos to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this year and was told that the State Department passed the memos to the F.B.I. He did not say who told him.

Mr. Giuliani said he also gave the memos to the columnist, John Solomon, who worked at the time for The Hill newspaper and published articles and videos critical of Ms. Yovanovitch, the Bidens and other Trump targets. It was unclear to what degree Mr. Giuliani’s memos served as fodder for Mr. Solomon, who independently interviewed Mr. Lutsenko and other sources.

Mr. Solomon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lobbying disclosure law contains an exemption for legal work, and Mr. Giuliani said his efforts to unearth information and push both for investigations in Ukraine and for news coverage of his findings originated with his defense of Mr. Trump in the special counsel’s investigation.

He acknowledged that his work morphed into a more general dragnet for dirt on Mr. Trump’s targets but said that it was difficult to separate those lines of inquiry from his original mission of discrediting the origins of the special counsel’s investigation.

Mr. Giuliani said Mr. Lutsenko never specifically asked him to try to force Ms. Yovanovitch’s recall, saying he concluded himself that Mr. Lutsenko probably wanted her fired because he had complained that she was stifling his investigations.

“He didn’t say to me, ‘I came here to get Yovanovitch fired.’ He came here because he said he had been trying to transmit this information to your government for the past year, and had been unable to do it,” Mr. Giuliani said of his meeting in New York with Mr. Lutsenko. “I transmitted the information to the right people.”

The president sought to distance himself earlier on Friday from Mr. Giuliani, saying he was uncertain when asked whether Mr. Giuliani still represented him. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I spoke to him yesterday quickly. He is a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.”

Mr. Giuliani later said that he still represented Mr. Trump.

The recall of the ambassador and the efforts by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to push for investigations in Ukraine have emerged as the focus of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.

The impeachment was prompted by a whistle-blower complaint about Mr. Trump pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in a July phone call to pursue investigations that could help Mr. Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. At the time, the Trump administration had frozen $391 million in military assistance to Ukraine for its fight against Russian-backed separatists.

The State Department’s inspector general has turned over to House impeachment investigators a packet of materials including the memos containing notes of Mr. Giuliani’s interviews with Mr. Lutsenko and Mr. Shokin.

The investigation into Mr. Giuliani is the latest to scrutinize one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers. His former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, implicated the president when he pleaded guilty last year to making hush payments during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed affairs with Mr. Trump, which he has denied.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned Mr. Trump as “Individual 1” in court papers but never formally accused him of wrongdoing.

Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel reported from Washington, and Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum from New York.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Kamala Harris Was Ready to Brawl From the Beginning

SAN FRANCISCO — The rebuttal sounded something like a threat. That seemed to be Kamala Harris’s point.

It was December 2003, a final debate in the final days before the runoff election in Ms. Harris’s race for San Francisco district attorney against her onetime boss, Terence Hallinan. And Mr. Hallinan, the crusading progressive incumbent, was going low: Ms. Harris could not be trusted to prosecute city corruption, he suggested, because of her relationship with Willie Brown — the outgoing mayor, peerless local kingmaker and Harris supporter whom she had dated years earlier. “He has an interest,” Mr. Hallinan speculated, “in having a friend in the district attorney’s office.”

Ms. Harris conjured a different hypothetical. She would take on crooked actors of all kinds, she said. In fact, she already had a prospective target in mind.

“I will set up a public integrity desk,” she vowed, building to the velocity of a TV lawyer in full riff, “dedicated to dealing with investigating and prosecuting cases involving corruption by any public official — be it Terence Hallinan or anyone else.”

Mr. Hallinan seemed to wobble. “That really takes the breath away,” he said. Eight days later, Ms. Harris took his job away.

Sixteen years on, as a California senator seeking the Democratic nomination for president, Ms. Harris is not, by her own admission, the candidate of structural upheaval, like Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont or Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She is not an old-guard centrist, like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. But in a party weighing how best to counter President Trump’s boundless capacity for brawling, Ms. Harris is the one who knows how to hit hardest, friends say, because that is how you win in San Francisco.

The 2003 race, the first of her career, is where she learned.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160738524_4f6db9a3-ecc7-459e-857b-15c3acc2c140-articleLarge Kamala Harris Was Ready to Brawl From the Beginning United States Politics and Government San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco (Calif) Presidential Election of 2020 Harris, Kamala D Elections, District Attorneys Campaign Finance Brown, Willie L Jr Breed, London Boudin, Chesa

Ms. Harris receives the oath of office on Jan. 8, 2004.CreditGeorge Nikitin/Associated Press

“San Francisco is the bluest of blue,” said Tony West, her brother-in-law and longtime informal adviser. “All political wars there are civil wars. And so it’s like a family fight. And those are often the worst.”

For Ms. Harris, who was 38 when she ran for district attorney, the campaign arrived at an inflection point — a period of restlessness, according to former colleagues, in the career of a hard-charging deputy accustomed to straddling disparate orbits. After a decade of unglamorous work for local prosecutors and a studied induction into San Francisco’s social elite, a Candidate Harris was by turns a society-page veteran and a prolific loiterer at supermarket parking lots, unfurling an ironing board from her back seat as a canvas for campaign literature. She began her evenings at fund-raisers in ritzy Pacific Heights and ended them at the modest apartment where she lived alone in the city’s SoMa neighborhood, stretching across her living room floor to compose longhand thank-you notes to donors.

“She was always the candidate who was like, ‘I got everything done on my list. Did you get everything done on your list?’” said Jim Stearns, a top consultant to Ms. Harris in 2003.

Often enough, those lists included the kinds of strategic choices that seemed endemic to success in San Francisco politics, particularly against someone like Mr. Hallinan, known locally as “Kayo” (as in “K.O.,” for knockout) since his boxing youth.

When her pledge to obey a voluntary campaign spending cap proved nettlesome, Ms. Harris did not hesitate to reverse herself, earning a hefty ethics fine.

Eager to extract information about her opponent’s operation, a senior Harris aide once posed as a Hallinan volunteer over email under an assumed name, before being found out and told to attend a nonexistent rally at 10 p.m. on a Sunday.

And subjected to gendered insinuations that Mr. Brown, three decades her senior, had facilitated Ms. Harris’s rise by introducing her to the city’s ruling class, the candidate was quick to flag her rival’s own sensational baggage, accusing Mr. Hallinan of fostering a debauched workplace where prosecutors had sex in the office.

It is no coincidence that some of Ms. Harris’s sharpest moments as a national voice have come in political combat. As a senator, she has won viral recognition for her lacerating questioning during hearings. In June, she flattened Mr. Biden in a debate exchange over his warm remembrances of segregationist senators. After some polling stumbles since then, she turned her attention to Mr. Trump from the Houston debate stage on Thursday, comparing the president to the “really small dude” behind the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz.”

[Here are six takeaways from the September Democratic debate.]

Yet if her 2003 run proved that Ms. Harris could thrive in campaign conflict, it was also an early lesson in the challenges of negotiating the party’s base, particularly for a politician more inclined toward within-the-system reform than simmering revolution.

In many ways, no 2020 candidate has faced a hometown electorate more analogous to today’s Democratic primary conditions than Ms. Harris has. Then, as now, she was a self-described progressive, introducing herself as a potentially history-making pick in a multicultural city of vanguard liberalism, parochial neighborhood factions and often staggering income inequality.

But Ms. Harris also ran unambiguously to Mr. Hallinan’s right in a place that prided itself on showing offenders compassion. “She was the moderate,” said Nathan Ballard, a friend who worked with her as a deputy city attorney. “She was somebody who wanted to prosecute criminals.”

Getting that chance meant subjecting herself to an unpalatable fate: confronting the two men who had helped her, to a point, and were now threatening to stand in her way.

“I mean, I know how to fight,” Ms. Harris said in an interview. “But most people like to avoid a fight if you can.”

Mr. Hallinan was known as an empathetic prosecutor during his years as district attorney.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

For a short while, the office was big enough for them both.

After several years across the bay in Alameda County, Ms. Harris joined Mr. Hallinan’s team in 1998 as an assistant district attorney overseeing the career criminal unit.

Friends say Ms. Harris initially admired his instinct for empathetic prosecution, which prized diversion over jail for many nonviolent lawbreakers. She spent off-hours helping his 1999 re-election and took a particular interest the next year in trying to defeat a state ballot measure, also opposed by Mr. Hallinan, that effectively shifted many young offenders into the adult justice system.

This, it seems, is where some of the tensions began. Fred Gardner, an office spokesman at the time, said that Mr. Hallinan became concerned as Ms. Harris assumed a public-facing role in the ballot debate, growing suspicious that Ms. Harris might run against him. (Mr. Hallinan’s son, Brendan, said his father, now 82, was not able to give an interview.)

In Ms. Harris’s telling, the office, which Mr. Hallinan had steered since 1996, was tumbling into disarray — epitomized one afternoon, she said, by a mass firing of lawyers who returned from lunch to find pink slips on their chairs. “The place was falling apart,” Ms. Harris said in the interview. “People were urging me to run.”

She left in 2000 for the city attorney’s office. Mr. Hallinan did not attend the send-off. Some other lawyers stayed away, too, Mr. Gardner said, fearing that they would “get reported back to the boss as disloyal.” He estimated that half the office attended anyway.

No longer under Mr. Hallinan’s purview, Ms. Harris began considering a campaign to replace him in earnest. She produced a low-tech bio page, pressing a photograph of herself against the sheet and making multiple copies. “I think we went to, like, Kinko’s,” Ms. Harris said. “Very high-level, professional operation.”

Mr. Stearns, her consultant, cautioned that Ms. Harris was occupying a dangerous political space: the center — wedged between Mr. Hallinan and a more conservative challenger named Bill Fazio.

“He kind of scratched his head and said, ‘O.K., this is going to be difficult because you’re running up the middle,’” Ms. Harris said. “I have this saying, which is: ‘No good public policy ends with an exclamation point.’”

Ms. Harris, who has strained at times as a presidential candidate to convince progressives of her convictions, was asked if this tension felt familiar lately. “There probably are some parallels,” she said. “There’s an appetite for statements that end with an exclamation point. And it’s really challenging.”

Mr. Hallinan’s supporters believe his punctuation, as it were, was commendable for a district attorney, praising his commitment to rehabilitating drug users in the throes of the tough-on-crime era. Kenneth Wine, a longtime law partner of Mr. Hallinan’s brother’s, said that while Ms. Harris was “a good, honest, straightforward prosecutor,” she won the job in part by questioning the kind of progressivism that Mr. Hallinan championed.

“He shocked a lot of people with his progressive ideas,” Mr. Wine said. “Kamala Harris became the D.A. sort of backtracking on those to some extent.”

Ms. Harris liked to say there was nothing progressive about being “soft on crime.” Volunteers furnished doorknobs with fliers stuffed with muscular adjectives (“Tough. Fair. Effective.”), trumpeting her support from law enforcement groups. The headshots of local elected endorsers specked her campaign materials.

And about five or so faces into that roster — not so prominent as to draw immediate attention, not so buried as to suggest deliberate camouflage — voters were greeted by a smiling mayor.

Willie Brown, the local kingmaker, was the outgoing San Francisco mayor during Ms. Harris’s campaign, and she promoted his support for her on her fliers.CreditPaul Sakuma/Associated Press

The thing was, it could feel as though everyone who hit it big here owed a debt to Willie Brown — the showman power broker enamored of Brioni suits, well-directed patronage and his own legend.

The current California governor, Gavin Newsom, was a young businessman when Mr. Brown elevated him to the city’s Parking and Traffic Commission and, soon after, to the Board of Supervisors — placing Mr. Newsom on the fast track to succeed him at City Hall. The current mayor, London Breed, was once an intern in Mr. Brown’s administration.

Ms. Harris’s example is more complicated. She began dating Mr. Brown, now 85, around 1994, when she was working in Alameda County and he was speaker of the California Assembly. He appointed her to two well-compensated state posts. He gave her a BMW. He introduced her to people worth knowing.

“When I first met her, she was Willie’s girlfriend,” said John Burton, a former congressman and chairman of the California Democratic Party. “Everybody gets their start through somebody else. Jack Kennedy got his start through his father. Bobby got his start through Jack.”

Ms. Harris’s allies have bristled at any suggestion that Mr. Brown powered her ascent, dismissing the charge as sexist and making clear that she was plenty capable of impressing on her own. Few could argue that Ms. Harris, hovering around 5 percent in early polling, entered the 2003 race at much of an advantage, even as her fund-raising drew on an ungainly Filofax full of high-end contacts. (Eventually, friends insisted she transfer to a Palm Pilot.)

Fair or not, Ms. Harris understood quickly that Mr. Brown would shadow the campaign. “No woman likes to be judged by who she dates,” said Rebecca Prozan, a top 2003 campaign aide. “Was it something that we wanted to address? No. Was it something we had to address? Yes.”

Ms. Harris hoped to maintain distance without alienating his supporters. An internal memo suggested hiring Mr. Stearns as a consultant in part because he was associated with “the anti-Willie Brown camp which may be helpful.” Ms. Harris told SF Weekly in 2003 that she was so independent of Mr. Brown that he “would probably right now express some fright about the fact that he cannot control me.”

“His career is over,” she said, as Mr. Brown’s second mayoral term wound down. “I will be alive and kicking for the next 40 years.”

But Ms. Harris also promoted Mr. Brown’s support on her fliers. And his barely hidden hand helped goose her precedent-busting fund-raising. “He was instrumental behind the scenes,” said Mark Buell, a major Democratic donor who served as Ms. Harris’s finance chairman. “Willie Brown told me — and I didn’t want to believe him — you have to raise $1 million to win this race. And we did.”

Mr. Brown, who now writes political columns, cheekily declined to be interviewed, on the grounds that he could not assist a rival publication. “I write for The Chronicle,” he said, quickly ending a phone call. (In one of those columns in January, he wrote: “Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago. Yes, I may have influenced her career.”)

Ms. Harris, in the interview, called her 2003 opponents’ references to Mr. Brown “frustrating” and “designed to degrade, frankly, the conversation about why we needed a new D.A.”

Asked if Mr. Brown was a factor in the race — either as a boogeyman deployed by her rivals or as a sitting mayor with an interest in the outcome — Ms. Harris said: “Um, I’d — you know. You can ask the pundits. I — yeah.”

Asked if she found the attacks misogynistic, she said, “I think most people think that that’s the case.”

A campaign pamphlet from Ms. Harris’s 2003 run for the district attorney of San Francisco.Credit

Enough voters seemed to.

Just before the election, the campaign of Mr. Hallinan’s other challenger, Mr. Fazio, circulated a mailer quoting a woman critical of Ms. Harris: “I don’t care if Willie Brown is Kamala Harris’ ex-boyfriend,” it read. “What bothers me is that Kamala accepted two appointments from Willie Brown to high-paying, part-time state boards.”

The approach backfired. Former Harris aides credit public disgust over the mailer with helping to push her into the two-person runoff at the expense of Mr. Fazio, who had been polling ahead of Ms. Harris throughout the race. (Reached by phone, Mr. Fazio said he did not remember the mailer but suggested it sounded like “some desperation on my campaign’s part.” He said he supported Ms. Harris’s presidential run.)

Perhaps more relevant, Ms. Harris proved to be a relentless and versatile campaigner, parking herself at transit stops, gay bars and senior-center bingo sessions where she worried her hot streak one night might upset the regulars. She established her headquarters in the predominantly nonwhite Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, posing for photographs beneath an indoor graffiti mural that read “Justice” and watching her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, instruct supporters on proper envelope-stuffing form.

Ms. Harris as the San Francisco district attorney in 2008.CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ms. Harris also excelled in more exclusive company. She held events with the musician Boz Scaggs and Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues.” She persuaded the party’s powerful central committee to withhold an endorsement before the first round of voting, a major setback for Mr. Hallinan.

On the night of the runoff, Ms. Harris entered her victory party to chants of “D.A.! D.A.!” as “We Are the Champions” blared, relatives gathered beside the “Justice” mural and Mr. Brown held court with reporters.

Mr. Hallinan was terse in conceding defeat. “It’s a tough job,” he said, wishing Ms. Harris luck.

More recently, Ms. Harris has likewise found that the city’s politics can be fickle. Many of San Francisco’s progressive activists prefer Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders. Mr. Buell, her 2003 finance chairman, remains a supporter but has also raised money for Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. “I think she’s a little miffed,” Mr. Buell said.

And in the city’s latest district attorney’s race, to be decided in November, Mr. Stearns has taken on a new client: Chesa Boudin, a public defender running on reducing mass incarceration.

“He is actively criticizing Kamala’s record,” Mr. Stearns said. “2003 has never seemed so much like yesterday.”

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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With Markers and Straws, Trump’s Campaign Sells Defiance as a Lifestyle

WASHINGTON — The message the president is selling to his supporters is clear.

“You don’t have any choice. You have to vote for me,” President Trump told a crowd on Monday at a rally in North Carolina, making a point he has revisited often in recent weeks. “Your way of life is under assault by these people.”

Now, would they like a straw with that?

It turns out that Mr. Trump’s message of outright defiance — against Democrats, against the news media and, often, against facts — can exist in tchotchke form. The president’s campaign, which is relying on small-dollar donors to bolster his re-election effort, is also courting supporters willing to pay a little bit more for reminders of that message.

And the campaign has been creative in quickly bringing to market a range of products memorializing the president’s latest run-in — defiance as lifestyle.

In July, for example, plastic Trump drinking straws were created to hit back at the growing movement, most noticeably at large coffee and fast food chains, that has called for environment-friendly alternatives to plastic straws. The Trump campaign says its straws are in fact recyclable — “Liberal paper straws don’t work,” was the pitch.

Siphoning Twitter rage over the straws created a revenue stream. According to data shared by Trump campaign officials this week, almost 55,000 packs of straws have been sold, netting over $823,000 in sales. More than a third of the people who bought the items had never donated to the campaign before that purchase, according to Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director.

Last week, a tweetstorm broke out after the president was photographed with a map showing the path of Hurricane Dorian with a hard-to-miss black line that appeared to have been drawn to extend the storm’s possible path into Alabama after he had insisted he had been right in predicting the storm, at one point, was headed to the state.

Mr. Trump said he did not know who had doctored the map with a Sharpie, but that did not stop the campaign from selling something new — markers with Mr. Trump’s autograph on them. As it became clear that administration officials, if not the president, had altered a scientific document, campaign officials tried to direct attention not to the administration’s mistake but to the fact that it was being heavily covered by the news media.

“Buy the official Trump marker, which is different than every other marker on the market, because this one has the special ability to drive @CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy!” tweeted Brad Parscale, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager.

This week, The New York Times revealed that Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, had threatened to fire employees at a federal scientific agency responsible for weather forecasts as Mr. Trump grew angry over the coverage around his Alabama tweets.

But the markers do not appear to have the same appeal the straws did, having sold only about $50,000 worth, according to Mr. Murtaugh. Mr. Parscale initially said they had been selling by the “hundreds.”

While drinking straws and black markers are churned out the speed of a Twitter news cycle, that is nothing compared with the new varieties of T-shirts that go on the market after Mr. Trump tangles with a Democratic congressman or prominent journalist.

For $34, fans can buy a recent model lampooning the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo for unleashing a profanity-laced tirade on a pair of men who called him “Fredo,” a reference to the incompetent son of Marlon Brando in “The Godfather.” The shirt is meant to mock Mr. Cuomo’s assertion that the moniker was a slur against Italians.

The “Fredo” shirt displays the campaign’s omnipresent phone number to sign up and receive texts. The campaign closely monitors text sign-ups around each effort, and the results seem to have emboldened officials.

The seemingly unending product line has raised questions about who is hatching the ideas and who is creating the merchandise. Everything officially manufactured by the Trump campaign is American-made, Mr. Murtaugh said in an email.

Most of the merchandise requests are routed through a company called Ace Specialties in Lafayette, La., whose owner, Christl Mahfouz, can often be seen mingling with fans outside Trump rallies. Her team sells hats in exchange for money and the buyer’s voting data: Each time a supporter buys a T-shirt or a hat at a rally, a digital interface prompts them to turn over their names, addresses and other voter-specific information for future Federal Election Commission reports.

Publicly, at least, all credit goes to the president.

“President Trump is a master of communication and branding, and his campaign merchandise is emblematic of that,” Mr. Murtaugh said. “It gives people a little ownership of the re-election campaign and gives them high-quality merchandise in exchange for their donations.”

Mr. Parscale has privately taken credit for some of the more incendiary items, including the straws and the “Fredo Unhinged” T-shirt.

The attention, good and bad, just adds up to more money for Mr. Trump, Jennifer Wingard, a professor of rhetoric at the University of Houston, said in an interview. Ms. Wingard said that in some ways, Mr. Trump understood the very basics of social media influencer culture long before the Kardashians (or the Caroline Calloways) of the world did.

“His obsession with popularity,” Ms. Wingard said, “speaks to the social media influencing mind-set that most politicians don’t have.”

Internally, the commodification of the president’s trollish insults, no matter how un-politically correct, are a point of pride: A Pencil Neck illustration — a crude depiction of Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, based on a name Mr. Trump called him in a tweet — hangs in the kitchen of the campaign’s headquarters in suburban Virginia.

In some cases, it is not always clear that Mr. Trump understands the nuances of each smaller battle waged on his behalf. When asked if he supported the banning of plastic straws in July, the president said the public had bigger things to worry about before delivering an answer that ultimately did not match the fiery language used by his campaign.

“You know, it’s interesting about plastic straws,” he said. “So, you have a little straw. But what about the plates, the wrappers and everything else that are much bigger and they’re made of the same material? So the straws are interesting. Everybody focuses on the straws. There’s a lot of other things to focus. But it’s an interesting question.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160522017_6f8d8885-d6f7-48dd-b7bc-9f1a9313943a-articleLarge With Markers and Straws, Trump’s Campaign Sells Defiance as a Lifestyle United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Straws (Drinking) Social Media Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) Hurricane Dorian (2019) Campaign Finance

A rallygoer on Monday in Fayettville.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Mr. Trump may not be interested in the merits of debating the material composition of a straw, but he does instinctively understand the monetary value of slapping his name on one. Officials throughout his campaign are hypervigilant at trying to make sure that only officially sanctioned merchandise is showcased in campaign materials that he might see.

At campaign rallies, supporters are not invited to participate in pro-Trump videos unless they are wearing the official red “Make America Great Again” hat. Campaign aides even scan the crowds for green under the bill of the hat, a telltale sign that a product has been bought through official channels.

Ms. Wingard said that a person’s desire to buy a pack of straws or a red hat reflects the work of a campaign trying to monetize everything from heated cultural battles to consequential presidential mistakes, and a president who instinctively understands that a lot of attention — negative or otherwise — translates to money.

“He can get bad press, people can make fun of him,” Ms. Wingard said, “but the Sharpie campaign shows very flat out that it doesn’t matter. He’s going to make money off of it.”

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How Elizabeth Warren Raised Big Money Before She Denounced Big Money

On the highest floor of the tallest building in Boston, Senator Elizabeth Warren was busy collecting big checks from some of the city’s politically connected insiders. It was April 2018 and Ms. Warren, up for re-election, was at a breakfast fund-raiser hosted for her by John M. Connors Jr., one of the old-guard power brokers of Massachusetts.

Soon after, Ms. Warren was in Manhattan doing the same. There would be trips to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, Martha’s Vineyard and Philadelphia — all with fund-raisers on the agenda. She collected campaign funds at the private home of at least one California megadonor, and was hosted by another in Florida. She held finance events until two weeks before her all-but-assured re-election last November.

Then, early this year, Ms. Warren made a bold bet that would delight the left: She announced she was quitting this big-money circuit in the 2020 presidential primary, vowing not to attend private fund-raisers or dial up rich donors anymore. Admirers and activists praised her stand — but few noted the fact that she had built a financial cushion by pocketing big checks the years before.

The open secret of Ms. Warren’s campaign is that her big-money fund-raising through 2018 helped lay the foundation for her anti-big-money run for the presidency. Last winter and spring, she transferred $10.4 million in leftover funds from her 2018 Senate campaign to underwrite her 2020 run, a portion of which was raised from the same donor class she is now running against.

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As Ms. Warren has risen in the polls on her populist and anti-corruption message, some donors and, privately, opponents are chafing at her campaign’s purity claims of being “100 percent grass-roots funded.” Several donors now hosting events for her rivals organized fund-raisers for her last year.

“Can you spell hypocrite?” said former Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, who contributed $4,000 to Ms. Warren in 2018 and is now supporting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Rendell said he had recruited donors to attend an intimate fund-raising dinner for Ms. Warren last year at Barclay Prime, a Philadelphia steakhouse where the famed cheesesteak goes for $120. (The dish includes Wagyu rib-eye, foie gras, truffled cheese whiz and a half-bottle of champagne.) He said he received a “glowing thank-you letter” from Ms. Warren afterward.

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Former Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania contributed $4,000 to Ms. Warren in 2018. He is now supporting former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.CreditMatt Rourke/Associated Press

But when Mr. Rendell co-hosted Mr. Biden’s first fund-raiser this spring, Ms. Warren’s campaign sent brickbats, deriding the affair as “a swanky private fund-raiser for wealthy donors,” the likes of which she now shuns.

“She didn’t have any trouble taking our money the year before,” Mr. Rendell said. “All of a sudden, we were bad guys and power brokers and influence-peddlers. In 2018, we were wonderful.”

Supporters of Ms. Warren say her presidential campaign should not be criticized for trying to lessen the influence of big donors now, even if she wooed and benefited from them previously.

“There’s a perverse incentive system for public officials,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has endorsed Ms. Warren. If candidates continue the big-money status quo, he said, “you don’t get called a hypocrite. But if you stick your neck out, take chances, challenge power, and try to change the system step by step, you get criticized for not taking every step possible all at once.”

Ms. Warren’s surplus Senate cash has undergirded two important elements of her 2020 run. She was able to invest early in a massive political organization — spending 87 cents of every dollar she raised in early 2019 — without fear of bankrupting her bid, and she had that financial backstop to lessen the risk of forgoing traditional fund-raisers.

“It gave her some running room,” said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist based in Massachusetts, though she still called banning fund-raisers a “big risk.”

Advisers to Ms. Warren defended her campaign finance decisions and noted that big-money fund-raisers, like the ones with Mr. Connors and Mr. Rendell, accounted for only about one-quarter of the $25.8 million she raised in 2017 and 2018.

Kristen Orthman, Ms. Warren’s communications director, said the senator “believes that to take back the White House we need to build a grass-roots movement.”

“When we made the decision to run the campaign this way, the players in the usual money-for-influence game dismissed it as naïve and said it would never work and it would kill the campaign,” Ms. Orthman said. “We’re pleased that our grass-roots strategy has been so effective that they’re now threatened enough to be attacking us for it.”

Since Ms. Warren’s announcement in February, her disavowal of closed-door events with the donor class has become an inextricable part of the DNA of her candidacy as she promises to bring about structural change to American society.

It is the reason, her campaign advisers say, that she has the time to dedicate to hourslong selfie lines, to expand the map of states she can visit, and to call up small donors at random to thank them for giving, rather than pleading for more $2,800 donations from the well-to-do.

“The best president money can’t buy,” read campaign T-shirts and tank tops.

That message — paired with a raft of ambitious policy proposals — resonated with enough small contributors to propel Ms. Warren to raise $19.2 million in the second quarter of 2019 (the third most in the field) and to the top tier in the polls.

The only other Democratic candidate to bypass big-money events is her fellow liberal in the race, Senator Bernie Sanders. He has transferred $10.1 million from old accounts to his 2020 campaign, but, unlike Ms. Warren, he had eschewed high-dollar fund-raisers in past races. (Other senators transferred money into their 2020 bids as well.)

There is no way to say exactly how much of the $10.4 million Ms. Warren transferred from 2018 was attributable to large donations. Her campaign said she had 380,000 donors to her re-election who gave an average of $30 — a strong grass-roots following. Records show about $6 million of her Senate funds also came from donors who gave $1,000 or more.

Ms. Warren speaking to supporters on the night she won re-election in Massachusetts last year.CreditMichael Dwyer/Associated Press

Throughout 2017 and 2018, Ms. Warren paired appeals to small contributors with a robust operation courting big ones.

In early 2017, Ms. Warren had created the Elizabeth Warren Action Fund, which could raise money above the $5,400 candidate limit. The extra funds went to her political action committee, which she would then redistribute to other party committees and politicians, and the Massachusetts Democratic Party; she closed the joint account in late 2018.

Ms. Warren also traveled the country extensively to fund-raise, according to invitations obtained by The New York Times and people familiar with the events, though she often found a chillier reception in New York because of her anti-Wall Street rhetoric.

In Florida, she was hosted for an event by the billionaires Henry and Marsha Laufer. In New York, Meyer S. Frucher, the vice chairman of Nasdaq, held a reception for her. She was hosted by the “Lost” creator Damon Lindelof and his wife, Heidi, in Southern California. The philanthropist Stephen M. Silberstein had Ms. Warren over to his San Francisco-area home. And as late as the fall of 2018, she visited Silicon Valley, where Karla Jurvetson, a multimillion-dollar Democratic contributor, hosted an event for her.

This year, Ms. Jurvetson also donated money to the Democratic National Committee on Ms. Warren’s behalf, as first reported by BuzzFeed, to help her campaign purchase information about voters (she was not solicited directly by Ms. Warren).,. Ms. Jurvetson declined to comment through a spokesman.

Mr. Silberstein said he had bristled when he first heard Ms. Warren would stop doing events like the dinner he had held for her. “My first reaction was I was insulted,” he said in an interview, but then came to see it as a “gutsy move.”

“After I sort of got over the fact that she wouldn’t be calling me anymore, I saw that she made a big success out of it,” he said.

As the 2018 election neared, Ms. Warren’s big money was partly bankrolling an apparent 2020 apparatus in waiting. Ms. Warren said in late September last year that she would “take a hard look” at a White House run. Her Senate campaign notably aired zero television ads (as did Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, ahead of her run). Some of the money that Ms. Warren did not stockpile went to strategic giveaways and investments, such as deploying staff in the early nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire in 2018.

Ms. Warren continued to press for donations into October. Her campaign invited donors to attend a Senate debate watch event, with the added draw that Ms. Warren would visit after she got offstage. Her last fund-raising event, an intimate round table in Cambridge, came on Oct. 27.

Sean Curran, who contributed $5,400 to Ms. Warren’s Senate campaign but co-hosted an event for Senator Kamala Harris of California this year, said the move by Ms. Warren to forgo private fund-raisers now was “consistent with her values.”

“If any other candidate did this, I’d say they were looking for the cheap political advantage,” Mr. Curran said.

The choice to swear off fund-raisers was certainly seen as fraught when she made it. Her finance director and another top fund-raising official quickly resigned. And in late March, she had to dip briefly into those Senate reserves, as her fund-raising briefly did not keep up with her spending. But the decision has proved a central selling point for Ms. Warren, who by the end of June had nearly $20 million in the bank and will stand at center stage with Mr. Biden at Thursday’s debate.

Ms. Warren campaigning at a house party in Hampton Falls, N.H., in September.CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

Steven Grossman, a Boston-area donor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who contributed the maximum amount to Ms. Warren’s 2018 campaign, said the biggest advantage of Ms. Warren’s carry-over cash was the ability for her to invest in staff early on.

“Everyone else was playing catch-up ball,” Mr. Grossman said. He is now a supporter of Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.

Mr. Green, the Warren supporter, said her vow to skip fund-raisers had led to small donations.

“When we point out to our grass-roots that Elizabeth Warren needs you more because she’s forgoing big-money fund-raising, that definitely is a more compelling pitch that results in more people taking out their credit card,” he said.

Ms. Warren has said her ban on fund-raisers only applies to the primary. Should she win the nomination, she would return to the events to compete with Republicans. (Faiz Shakir, campaign manager to Mr. Sanders, said the senator would not hold such fund-raisers if he is the nominee.)

So how much did the Senate money help Ms. Warren get a jump on her presidential rivals?

Here’s one way to look at it: As of the end of June, only five candidates besides Ms. Warren, out of two dozen Democratic hopefuls, had even raised more than $10.4 million, the amount of her Senate transfer.

“Certainly it’s a lot easier if you have $12 million as a starting point,” Andrew Yang, the businessman and first-time candidate, said with a laugh. “If she hadn’t, then it might have been a slightly different calculation.”

Mr. Yang went on: “But you can’t begrudge something that someone has done at an earlier point if they decide to move in a direction that I personally think is very positive.”

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Democrats to Broaden Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump to Corruption Accusations

WASHINGTON — House Democrats return to Washington this week poised to significantly broaden their nascent impeachment inquiry into President Trump beyond the findings of the Russia investigation, but they will confront a fast-dwindling political clock.

Undeterred by lackluster public support for impeachment, Democratic lawmakers and aides have sketched out a robust four-month itinerary of hearings and court arguments that they hope will provide the evidence they need to credibly portray Mr. Trump as corrupt and abusing his power.

Beyond the president’s efforts to impede the special counsel’s investigation, Democrats also plan to scrutinize his role in hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with him and reports that he dangled pardons to officials willing to break the law to implement his immigration policies. Democrats also demanded documents last week related to whether his resort properties illegally profited from government business.

“The central oversight perspective so far has been focused on the Mueller report,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a former constitutional law professor who sits on the Judiciary Committee. “We need to broaden out the oversight work to get a complete picture of the lawlessness of the administration. That is the imperative for the fall season.”

Whether Democrats’ agenda will result in a House vote to impeach a president for only the third time in American history remains the most significant unanswered question of Mr. Trump’s presidency, one that could shape his bid for re-election and his prospects of notching any additional legislative accomplishments in his first term.

But even the most ardent supporters of impeachment conceded that time might already be short, with only around 40 days in session left before the end of the year and a slew of issues on Capitol Hill that could sap additional time and energy. Congress must fund the government in the coming weeks, and lawmakers in both parties want meaningful legislative debates over Mr. Trump’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada, gun safety legislation and bolstering election security.

Most House Democrats now privately agree that Mr. Trump’s behavior clears the bar for an impeachment vote — some reached the conclusion over the six-week recess that just ended — but the politics of doing so are more complicated and their leaders appear no closer to a decision on whether to proceed.

The Judiciary Committee’s chairman, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, has indicated that the panel will most likely determine late this year whether to advance impeachment articles, and aides have privately argued that they cannot wait much longer to leave enough time to vote and try a case in the Senate before the 2020 election more forcefully diverts attention.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158490405_24c32988-8059-4774-b34a-8cde871d3b03-articleLarge Democrats to Broaden Impeachment Inquiry Into Trump to Corruption Accusations United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Nadler, Jerrold Mueller, Robert S III McGahn, Donald F II Lewandowski, Corey (1975- ) impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Corruption (Institutional) Constitution (US) Clifford, Stephanie (1979- ) Campaign Finance Amnesties, Commutations and Pardons

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told colleagues during a private call last month that the public still “isn’t there on impeachment.”CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

Just as consequentially, court cases have hamstrung Democrats’ ability to stage potentially powerful public hearings — in part as a result of Mr. Trump’s stonewalling of congressional oversight efforts. Rulings in two cases — one on unsealing grand jury secrets from Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, and the other to enforce a subpoena for the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II — are expected this fall. They could determine whether lawmakers will be able to blunt the White House’s attempts to run out the clock by slow-walking document production and ordering major witnesses not to appear before lawmakers without a court order.

For now, Democratic congressional investigators agree they should push ahead, even if impeachment ultimately remains beyond their grasp.

“If we aren’t able to collect the evidence that we need to present a credible case before the election, well, at least maybe we will have put enough evidence out there that the public can exercise another form of regime change that is in the Constitution and vote,” said Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat on the committee.

The Judiciary Committee will take a substantial step to organize its effort this week. Lawmakers are expected to vote to establish rules and procedures governing the inquiry, including allowing staff lawyers to question witnesses and the president’s lawyers to more formally offer a defense, according to an official familiar with the committee’s plans.

Democrats began examining the hush payments and other areas of scrutiny in the spring, requesting documents and taking other early steps. But they have focused mostly on Mr. Mueller’s investigation and his account of Mr. Trump’s repeated attempts to thwart his team.

Several high-profile witnesses were subpoenaed to appear before Congress in September to discuss potential obstruction acts, including Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Rob Porter, a onetime White House aide. But Democratic leaders are hoping that their review of Mr. Trump’s properties, the hush payments and pardon dangling might resonate more with the public and allow lawmakers to sidestep the wall the White House has erected around witnesses related to Mr. Mueller’s inquiry.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan investigated the payments to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, and charged Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, with violating campaign finance laws by arranging the payments. Though Mr. Trump was not named in the indictment, prosecutors referred to him as “Individual-1” and said he directed the illegal payments. Mr. Trump has acknowledged the payments, insisting they were legal. He has denied the affairs themselves.

By calling witnesses involved in the payments, Democrats believe they can make the case that Mr. Trump broke the law in his pursuit of the presidency, even through prosecutors closed the investigation without additional charges. It is not clear whether prosecutors concluded that they were bound by the Justice Department’s view that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

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See Which Witnesses the Mueller Report Relied on Most

A partially redacted report of the special counsel’s findings released on April 18 cited interviews with 43 individuals at least 10 times.

By broadcasting the details of Mr. Trump’s repeated efforts to drive government business to his family’s hotels, clubs and resorts, Democrats hope they can convince Americans that Mr. Trump is trying to profit off the presidency, a potential violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses. Mr. Trump has repeatedly rejected that accusation and turned over management of his company, the Trump Organization, to his oldest sons and an executive through a trust, though he is its sole beneficiary.

Democrats have also framed Mr. Trump’s reported offers to pardon aides willing to break the law to carry out his immigration policies as part of a pattern that also includes his efforts to impede Mr. Mueller’s investigators. The committee ordered Department of Homeland Security officials last week to hand over records related to the overtures, which Mr. Trump has denied and White House aides have said were jokes.

Democrats are largely united in their approach to casting Mr. Trump as abusing his power and plan to advance legislation to fight foreign election interference and misinformation campaigns, according to the speaker’s office.

But their stance has only loosely papered over internal differences about any impeachment vote, and party leaders could be forced to confront a messier intraparty conflict in the coming months based on how they decide to proceed.

Some of the House’s most liberal lawmakers appear to be growing tired of the methodical pace laid out by leadership and are prepared to argue more forcefully that allowing Mr. Trump to skirt punishment for his actions could free future presidents from congressional constraints on their powers.

Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said he spent August updating his own articles of impeachment accusing the president of emoluments violations, obstruction of justice, welcoming Russia’s election interference and unconstitutional attacks on the courts and the news media.

“I’m going to try to find out how many people are willing to stand up and vote for impeachment,” he said. “I understand the speaker and the chairman’s attitude about wanting to bring out all this proof. The proof is already there.”

Liberal advocacy groups had hoped to push the party during the August recess toward an impeachment vote by stirring up a groundswell of grass-roots support. But many moderate lawmakers opposed to impeachment emerged from August further convinced that their reticence was justified by voters’ lack of interest in impeachment and that the president was best voted out of office instead of removed.

That split may force impeachment advocates toward a compromise. With the Republican-controlled Senate highly likely to acquit Mr. Trump even if the House’s case were put to trial, some Democrats have begun raising another possibility: that the Judiciary Committee could draft articles of impeachment, vote them out of the panel but never bring them to the floor of the House — offering the public an election-year indictment of sorts without ever bringing the president to trial.

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Andrew Yang’s Quest to ‘Make America Think Harder’

PLAISTOW, N.H. — Meet Andrew Yang supporters and they often have a confession to make: When they first heard about Mr. Yang, they thought his plan to give every American adult $1,000 a month was a little crazy. But then, they will inevitably tell you, they heard him explain it, and it all started making sense.

“He was a meme — his campaign was a joke,” said Ben Longchamp, 20, a college student from Atkinson, N.H., who first saw Mr. Yang speak in May, at a restaurant in Portsmouth. “I’ve seen 14 candidates at this point, and what I like about him is he has this one policy proposal and he has the data to back it up.”

Shannon Jeanes, 44, a construction worker from Bedford, N.H., said he was drawn to Mr. Yang because he seemed to care about ideas like a $1,000 “universal basic income” more than personal ambition. “He’s not running because he wants to be president,” Mr. Jeanes said. “He’s running because he feels he needs to be.”

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Mr. Yang with reporters at the Iowa State Fair. His performance at next week’s debate could be crucial to sustaining his momentum.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

One of the most surprising developments of the 2020 presidential race has been the intensely loyal and passionate following for Mr. Yang, a former entrepreneur and tech executive making a bid for the Democratic nomination. Armed with numbers, history lessons and the occasional self-deprecating joke, he has been preaching a grim gospel about how automation will lead to mass unemployment and how corporate profits are warping the economy. Enough Americans have started to take him seriously that Mr. Yang has emerged as the surprise qualifier for a slimmed-down third Democratic debate, which will be held on Thursday in Houston.

Mr. Yang, 44, remains one of the least known candidates in a group that includes senators, mayors, a governor and a former vice president. He is far from the only one with policy chops. And he is, as ever, a long shot for the nomination, as evidenced by the fact that he is still polling in the low single digits.

But voters who attended his campaign events during a swing through New Hampshire last month rarely described him as a futurist fringe-candidate pitching a pie-in-the-sky plan. Instead, many said they had come to regard him as a smart, substantive and affable political outsider offering a thoughtful solution to an existential problem that other candidates have largely ignored.

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Andrew Yang, a businessman from New York, is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. His focus on preventing mass unemployment caused by the automation of jobs has made him popular online, but will it be enough to propel him to the White House?CreditCreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

More broadly, Mr. Yang’s supporters said they found his almost apolitical approach refreshing. Rather than participate in daily brinkmanship over immigration and gun control or level attacks on President Trump, Mr. Yang has used his platform to gently lecture the country about the “fourth industrial revolution” — which he fears will put truck drivers, call-center workers and retail clerks out of work — and to offer universal basic income as a way to soothe the pain he says such a revolution will assuredly cause.

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Mr. Yang has attracted an ideologically eclectic coalition that includes progressives, libertarians, disaffected voters and Trump supporters who have swapped their red MAGA hats for blue ones that say MATH — “Make America Think Harder.” Those who have come into his camp say his presence on YouTube, on podcasts and in the nationally televised debates helped them begin to see the logic behind giving people free money.

His performance in Houston could be crucial to sustaining his campaign’s newfound momentum. In the days immediately after the July debates, Mr. Yang’s campaign raked in about $1 million — more than a third of what his team had raised during the entirety of the second quarter. About 90 percent of the people who gave were new donors.

Mr. Yang greeting students at the University of New Hampshire in Durham last month.CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

The campaign is now on track to raise more than $5.5 million in the third quarter of the year, according to Yang advisers — more than the total amount Mr. Yang had raised during the previous 20 months that he spent as a candidate. While his operation does not rival the size or scale of his more established rivals’ campaigns, his team has ballooned to over 50 staff members from around 10 initially, as new offices have opened in Nashua and Portsmouth, N.H., and Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa. At the New York headquarters, the campaign has leased additional office space and is building an in-house digital team.

Data compiled by RealClearPolitics shows that Mr. Yang is drawing about 2.6 percent support in national polls on average, good enough for sixth place, behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and just ahead of Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas.

More and more, Mr. Yang and his advisers have allowed themselves to flirt openly with the idea that they have achieved something that long eluded them: mainstream recognition.

“I’ve been coming to New Hampshire every month for the last year-plus,” Mr. Yang, standing atop a soapbox, told a room packed with supporters at the christening of the Nashua office. “When I first showed up, honestly no one knew who I was. The growth from then to now — it’s staggering.”

Indeed, as recently as May, Mr. Yang strutted into a park in Lebanon, N.H., to find only a few dozen voters waiting to meet him. Back then, those who showed up conveyed more curiosity than commitment.

Three months later, the situation had changed. Mr. Yang would ask his audience questions — Which state has passed universal basic income? — and a chorus of supporters would yell back the answer on cue: “Alaska!”

Mr. Yang’s supporters said they found his almost apolitical approach refreshing.CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

At his events in New Hampshire, those fans tended to skew largely white, slightly male and very young. Many of them were in college or had just graduated; a noticeable share described themselves as liking both Mr. Yang and Mr. Trump.

Still others leaned libertarian and praised Mr. Yang for his plan to give people money and then get out of the way. Some professed to be former supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, saying that they saw in Mr. Yang a newer, fresher champion of progressive causes who was advancing ideas that might prove to be ahead of their time.

Mr. Yang’s big-city rallies can draw thousands and tend to attract more diverse crowds, including an unusually high share of Asian-Americans.

On the trail, Mr. Yang, like many of his rivals, likes to paint his campaign as one powered primarily by grass-roots enthusiasm and modest donations. An analysis by The New York Times bore that out, finding that about 70 percent of donations he received in the second quarter of the year came from people giving $200 or less.

A separate analysis of Mr. Yang’s approximately 133,000 total donors through June 30 showed that the average contribution to his campaign was about $27. Because approximately 20 percent of his donors gave multiple times, the average amount received from each person was about $40.

The donor data also reinforced a demographic trend apparent at Mr. Yang’s campaign events: Less than 30 percent of his donors were women, according to estimates by OpenSecrets.com and The Times.

The crowds at Mr. Yang’s New Hampshire meet-and-greets also noticeably lacked older voters. Some who did attend said they wanted to hear Mr. Yang out, even though they professed to preferring someone who had logged more experience working in Washington.

Ann Engelkemeir, 67, of Epsom, N.H., said she was leaning toward voting for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts or Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. But she and others said they found Mr. Yang personable and acknowledged that a core part of his appeal was that he was not a career politician.

“Some of the candidates, when they’re asked a question, they give the response they’ve practiced that is closest to the question,” Ms. Engelkemeir said at one event. “I do think he answers questions much more directly than I’ve heard.”

“I’ve been coming to New Hampshire every month for the last year-plus,” Mr. Yang said. “When I first showed up, honestly no one knew who I was.”  CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

During that event, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire, Mr. Yang found himself in front of an audience full of voters who, like Ms. Engelkemeir, were largely unfamiliar with him.

He ticked off a comedic and at times ungenerous retelling of his back story: unhappy corporate lawyer; founder of a business that experienced a “mini rise and maximum fall”; and eventually the leader of a test-preparation company that was bought by Kaplan in 2009.

Mr. Yang told The Washington Post Magazine this year that he “became a millionaire” after he sold the company, but stipulated that “my net worth is probably much lower than speculation would lead one to believe.” In financial disclosure forms filed this summer, Mr. Yang reported assets worth as much as $2.4 million, putting him on par with many other candidates in the race.

Amid the recession, Mr. Yang moved on to develop Venture for America, a nonprofit entrepreneurship organization for college graduates that created jobs in underserved cities.

When Mr. Trump was elected president in 2016, Mr. Yang says he started digging into data to try to understand why, and he found that millions of manufacturing jobs had been wiped out in swing states because of automation. It dawned on him that his good-faith effort to create jobs was wildly insufficient. A more sweeping solution was necessary: $1,000 a month for every American.

“Universal basic income is an amazingly hard policy to demonize,” said Matt Clark, 36, a college adviser from Massachusetts who supports the idea and believes Republicans will get behind it. “It’s super simple and it directly addresses so many Americans.”

Mr. Yang’s fixation on enriching the masses, along with his history as an entrepreneur, has made his personal wealth a popular Google search. As Mr. Yang’s campaign has gained relevance, his sources of income have come under increasing scrutiny.

At Mr. Yang’s events in New Hampshire, supporters said they regarded him as a smart, substantive and affable political outsider offering a thoughtful solution to an existential problem.CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

Mr. Yang’s financial disclosure forms show that he received a total of $94,000 for 10 speeches he gave between April 2018 and February 2019; five of the paid speeches were to JPMorgan Chase at a rate of $10,000 each. They also show that Mr. Yang draws tens of thousands of dollars in income from interest and capital gains on his investments as well as rent for a home he owns in New Paltz, N.Y.

A spokesman for Mr. Yang said the candidate would release his tax returns in the coming days. He declined to disclose Mr. Yang’s net worth or comment on his paid speeches.

Although Mr. Yang has been reluctant to discuss his wealth, he has been candid about other aspects of his personal life. Some voters said they were particularly struck by the humanity they saw come through when Mr. Yang spoke about his son who has autism and his wife’s dedication as a stay-at-home mother while he has been out on the trail.

(Mr. Yang also drew attention when he recently broke down in tears at a forum on gun violence in Iowa after a mother shared that her child had been killed by a stray bullet.)

Matthew Martin, 35, a gardener from Salem, Mass., is among those who said he was touched by Mr. Yang’s empathy. Both of Mr. Martin’s parents were factory workers who lost their jobs several times, so when he first heard Mr. Yang give his pitch on a podcast, he felt drawn to his message.

Now, more than a year after Mr. Martin first learned about Mr. Yang, he was standing inside his new office in Nashua. As Mr. Yang signed MATH hats and took selfies a few steps away, Mr. Martin mused about how the campaign had grown and why he had traveled to be a part of it.

“It’s very hard at first to get people on board with Andrew Yang,” he said. “But after they listen, it can be transformative.”

Rachel Shorey and Shane Goldmacher contributed reporting.

More on Andrew Yang’s Campaign

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Can $100 Million Buy a Spot at the Debate?

DES MOINES — As Tom Steyer, the billionaire former hedge fund investor and impeachment impresario, made his first trip to Iowa as a 2020 candidate this month, he embarked on the usual political circuit.

He delivered a soapbox speech at the state fair (“We have to break the corporate stranglehold on our democracy,” he said), visited the butter cow (“Not my first butter cow,” he corrected one fairgoer; he had been there last year) and professed his desire to see farm animals.

What was unusual for a man who has never held elected office and who has been running for president for only a few weeks was that people kept recognizing him along the way.

“Hey, it’s the YouTube guy!” one woman shouted as Mr. Steyer strode past. He also heard from several fans of his TV ads, including Catherine Rondema of Portland, Ore., who said she liked his commercials so much that she had timed her Iowa fair visit to hear him speak.

Mr. Steyer has spent $12 million on digital and television ads in only six weeks — more than any other Democratic presidential candidate has spent all year.

Whether Mr. Steyer can become something more than the billionaire buying the ads about how “our democracy has been purchased” is an open question.

His barrage of the airwaves has allowed a political novice to accomplish something that far better known governors, senators and the mayor of America’s largest city have not: luring 130,000 donors and topping 2 percent in three polls, which puts Mr. Steyer one poll short of qualifying for the national debate stage next month. His fortune has allowed him to be a force in the race even as other Democrats — the two-term governors Jay Inslee of Washington and John Hickenlooper of Colorado in recent days — have had to call it quits.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 27steyer1-articleLarge-v2 Can $100 Million Buy a Spot at the Debate? United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Steyer, Thomas F Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Iowa Global Warming Democratic Party Debates (Political) Campaign Finance

Mr. Steyer at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines this month.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

White, male, wildly wealthy and, at 62, older than the next-generation candidates in the field, Mr. Steyer would seem an unlikely messenger for a Democratic Party that is passionately debating racial and gender diversity, generational change and inequalities in American society. But his status as a virtual one-man “super PAC” is already upending the carefully laid strategies of Democratic rivals who must now grapple with the fact that they are unlikely to have the airwaves to themselves.

Running as something of a patrician populist, Mr. Steyer brushed aside the dissonance of someone with his résumé — Exeter, Yale, Stanford, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs — paying for ads that castigate the influence of “the powerful and well-connected.”

“I am the outsider in this race,” Mr. Steyer said in an interview. He described Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont as “part of the establishment” and asked whether the front-runner in the polls, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., really understood what this moment called for.

“The question really is for anybody running, including Vice President Biden, are you aware of how much has to change?” Mr. Steyer said, outlining a two-pronged agenda that would begin with rule changes to curb corporate power followed by significant action to address climate change. He has spent more than $7 million on television so far, according to ad trackers, concentrated in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

He has paid up to $10,000 for one 30-second broadcast spot in Boston, even though the New Hampshire voters he is targeting are a small fraction of the audience. No target audience appears too small. In Iowa, he is saturating viewers of Black Entertainment Television in Cedar Rapids seven day a week with spots as cheap as $11.

One tracking poll this week, from Morning Consult, which does not qualify him for the debate stage, showed him leaping to fifth place in the 21-candidate field, with 6 percent support in those four early states where most of his ads have aired.

His rivals have accused him of simply buying his way in. “The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires,” Ms. Warren said on Twitter the day Mr. Steyer entered the race.

Activists and Democratic officials have generally been muted in their criticism of a top party financier who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade. Many privately acknowledged having received Mr. Steyer’s funds in the past and said hopes for his money in the future had kept them silent.

Amanda Litman, the executive director of Run for Something, which encourages Democrats to pursue local office, said that Mr. Steyer could spend his money however he wished but that it would “go a lot further toward making progress on his goals if he invested in state legislatures.”

“We don’t have as many billionaires as the G.O.P. does,” she said. “We need them all to be in the right fight.”

Mr. Steyer greeting attendees at the Iowa State Fair.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times

The Steyer campaign has floated a $100 million budget, which is more than the top five Democratic candidates — Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senator Kamala Harris of California — raised in the second quarter combined.

Mr. Steyer has already outspent his opponents online in a fraction of the time they have been running: pouring $1 million into Google and YouTube ads and $3.9 million on Facebook, peaking at $215,000 a day on the social network.

Mr. Steyer is adding to his ranks, too, hiring state directors in far-flung and often unstaffed states like Vermont, Utah, Alabama and Oklahoma.

If Mr. Steyer qualifies for the September debate before the deadline on Wednesday, he will be the 11th candidate and prevent all of the top contenders from sharing a stage, as the field will be split over two nights. If he falls short, he is on track to qualify for an October debate.

“You underestimate my brother at your peril,” said Jim Steyer, who is one year older. He said that when Tom Steyer was considering running for California governor or senator, Ms. Harris and Gavin Newsom, now the governor, would use him as a back channel to find out about his brother’s plans. “People like Gavin and Kamala, they were always afraid of Tom,” he said.

One big unknown is whether Mr. Steyer will use his financial might to obliterate his opponents with negative ads. Those who have worked with Mr. Steyer describe him as fiercely competitive and used to getting his way.

“He’s been thinking about this for a long time,” Gil Duran, a former Steyer adviser, said. “I don’t think there’s a limit on what he’ll do to try to reach this goal.”

Mr. Steyer himself said he would not rule out negative ads. “Look, there’s something I really care about doing, and I’m going to try really hard to do it,” he said.

Of course, Mr. Steyer’s own record at the company that made him rich, Farallon Capital Management, is likely to receive fresh scrutiny. The company has faced accusations of tax sheltering, and its investments in coal and private prisons could prove problematic. In the interview, he pledged to release his tax returns, though he would not commit to a date other than saying that it would happen before the Iowa caucuses in February.

Mr. Steyer has some experience in retail-level politicking, having fielded questions at town-hall-style events across the country held by his group Need to Impeach.CreditRachel Mummey for The New York Times

For Mr. Steyer, his 2020 run is actually the culmination of a decade of political groundwork as he has reinvented himself from investor to political activist to candidate.

He has spent millions of dollars pressing for the impeachment of President Trump in ads that promoted himself and his group Need to Impeach, while building up an eight-million-strong email list (his campaign must technically rent the list, but that is little more than an accounting concern). And he constructed an environmental advocacy group, NextGen America, with nationwide chapters.

“He’s built an infrastructure that can be turned into working for a presidential campaign,” Kevin Mack, chief strategist for Need to Impeach, said.

Mr. Steyer has some experience in retail politicking, having fielded questions at town-hall-style events held by Need to Impeach across the country. Still, he can be stilted.

At the state fair, Mr. Steyer was pushed by an Iowa farmer, Kyle Gilchrist, about how a $15-an-hour minimum wage would work in rural areas. “I respect you’ve built a 37-million — billion — whatever it is,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “I’m a poor man from Van Buren County.” Mr. Gilchrist said he still baled hay himself. The billionaire lifted the farmer’s T-shirt sleeve to inspect his biceps, nodding in approval.

Mr. Steyer is not a self-funded politician in the centrist mold of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York. In some ways, Mr. Steyer is a liberal occupying the same structural reform space as the progressive leaders, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders. He has embraced decriminalizing the border and expanding the Supreme Court and, as a private citizen, proposed a “wealth tax” on assets of the superrich last fall, before Ms. Warren did.

“Virtually everybody else in this race, including those two senators, comes from D.C., is part of the establishment,” Mr. Steyer said. “So if you think the problem is broken government, which is what I think, if you think that the corporations have bought the government, who do you think is going to reform it? Do you think it’s going to be someone from the grass roots, from the outside, who’s done it for 10 years? Or do you think it’s going to be someone from D.C.?”

If the idea of a wealthy mogul running as an unbought outsider against a rigged system sounds familiar, that is no accident.

“Mr. Trump had a point,” Mr. Steyer said. “I think that’s why he got elected. Because the system is broken. It turns out he’s the biggest stooge there is.” Mr. Steyer’s ads have also argued that, as a billionaire, he has standing to take on Mr. Trump on the economy.

When Mr. Trump came to the Iowa State Fair in 2015, he arrived on his own private plane and brought along a helicopter for joy rides. Mr. Steyer says he only flies commercial for environmental reasons. He also refuses bottled water.

“Personal choice is not going to solve this problem,” he acknowledged, speaking of climate change.

His other personal choice — spending $100 million to try to be president — is why he found himself speeding across the Iowa fairgrounds in the early August heat to catch some 4-H farm animals before his scheduled commercial flight. He broke into a light jog as his son, staff members and a couple of journalists followed in a slow-motion chase.

“Run, Forrest, run,” someone shouted as Mr. Steyer pumped his arms.

His eyes widened when he learned that some Democrats flew private planes on the campaign trail. (“Are other people flying private?” “Like who?” “I’d love to know who’s flying private planes.” “How do you find that out?”)

“There’s a real question here about who takes climate seriously,” Mr. Steyer finally said. “It’s a real question.”

When Mr. Steyer arrived, the barn was empty. “Doggone it,” he muttered to no one in particular.

With that, he and his staff were off to the airport.

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Tom Steyer Is Spending Millions to Get Money Out of Politics

DES MOINES — As Tom Steyer, the 62-year-old billionaire former hedge funder and impeachment impresario, made his first trip to Iowa as a 2020 candidate this month, he embarked on the usual political circuit.

He delivered a soapbox speech at the state fair (“We have to break the corporate stranglehold on our democracy,” he said), visited the butter cow (“Not my first butter cow,” he corrected one fairgoer; he had been last year), sipped lemonade and professed his desire to see farm animals.

What was unusual for a man who has never held elected office and been running for president for only a few weeks was that people kept recognizing him along the way.

“Hey, it’s the YouTube guy!” one woman shouted as Mr. Steyer strode past.

He is the television guy, too. Mr. Steyer has spent $12 million on digital and television ads in only six weeks — more than any other Democrat has spent all year — often featuring him speaking straight into the camera.

“Your commercials make sense,” John Brinkmeyer of Hubbard, Iowa, told him. “They’re not the ones I turn off,” said Mike Poe of Marshalltown, Iowa. Catherine Rondema almost squealed when she spotted Mr. Steyer. She had come to Des Moines all the way from Portland, Ore., and had timed her fair visit to hear him speak. “I appreciate his commercials,” she explained.

Whether Mr. Steyer can become something more than the billionaire buying the ads about how “our democracy has been purchased” is an open question.

He is one poll away from becoming the 11th candidate to qualify for the September Democratic debate ahead of a Wednesday deadline. If he qualifies, he will prevent all the top contenders from sharing the same stage, as the field will be split over two nights. If he falls short, he is on track to make the stage in October.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 27steyer1-articleLarge-v2 Tom Steyer Is Spending Millions to Get Money Out of Politics United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Steyer, Thomas F Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Iowa Global Warming Democratic Party Debates (Political) Campaign Finance

Mr. Steyer at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Older, white, male and wildly wealthy, Mr. Steyer would seem an unlikely messenger for a Democratic Party passionately debating racial and gender diversity, generational change and inequalities in American society. But his status as a virtual one-man “super PAC” is already upending the carefully laid strategies of Democratic rivals who now must grapple with the fact that they are unlikely to have the airwaves to themselves in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Running as something of a patrician populist, Mr. Steyer brushed aside the dissonance of someone with his résumé — Exeter, Yale, Stanford, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, his own hedge fund — flooding the airwaves with ads that castigate the influence of “the powerful and well-connected.”

“I am the outsider in this race,” Mr. Steyer said in an interview. He described Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as “part of the establishment” and asked if the front-runner in the polls, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., really understood what this moment called for.

“The question really is for anybody running, including Vice President Biden, are you aware of how much has to change?” Mr. Steyer said, outlining a two-pronged agenda that would begin with rule changes to curb corporate power followed by significant action to address climate change.

In a fraction of the time, Mr. Steyer has already outspent his opponents online: $1 million on Google and $3.9 million on Facebook, peaking at $215,000 a day on Facebook as he sought the 130,000 donors needed to qualify for the next debate.

His rivals, including Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, have accused him of simply buying his way in. The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires,” Ms. Warren tweeted the day Mr. Steyer entered the race.

Activists and Democratic officials have generally been muted in their criticism of a top financier who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on political causes in the past decade. Many privately acknowledged having received Mr. Steyer’s funds in the past, or hope to in the future, and said that was part of why they are not speaking publicly against him.

Amanda Litman, the executive director of Run for Something, which encourages Democrats to pursue local office, said that Mr. Steyer could spend his money however he wished — “it’s his money!” — but that it would “go a lot further toward making progress on his goals if he invested in state legislatures.”

“We don’t have as many billionaires as the G.O.P. does — we need them all to be in the right fight,” Ms. Litman said.

Mr. Steyer greeting attendees at the Iowa State Fair.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times

The Steyer campaign has floated a $100 million campaign budget, which is more than the top five candidates for the Democratic nomination — Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Kamala Harris — raised in the second quarter combined.

He has paid up to $10,000 for a single 30-second spot on broadcast television in Boston, even though the New Hampshire voters he is targeting are only a small fraction of the station’s audience. In Iowa, no target audience appears too small: He is saturating viewers of Black Entertainment Television in Cedar Rapids, for instance, with spots as cheap as $11 that are running seven days a week, according to Federal Communications Commission records.

Mr. Steyer is staffing up, too. His website currently lists roughly 90 job openings, including state directors in far-flung and often unstaffed states like Vermont, Utah, Alabama and Oklahoma.

“Most of the insiders, they don’t have a clue how much money he can spend. They just don’t,” said Bill Carrick, a Democratic strategist who has seen Mr. Steyer’s spending up close in California, where Mr. Steyer has bankrolled ballot measures against the oil and tobacco industries.

“You underestimate my brother at your peril,” said Jim Steyer, who is one year older. Jim said that when Tom considered runs for California governor or senator, Ms. Harris and Gavin Newsom, now the governor, would use him as a back channel to find out about his brother’s plans. “People like Gavin and Kamala, they were always afraid of Tom.”

One big unknown is whether Mr. Steyer will use his financial might to obliterate his opponents with negative ads. Those who have worked with Mr. Steyer describe him as a fiercely competitive man used to getting his way.

“He’s been thinking about this for a long time,” said Gil Duran, a former Steyer adviser. “I don’t think there’s a limit on what he’ll do to try to reach this goal.”

Mr. Steyer himself said he would not rule out negative ads, regardless of criticism he might face from the party. “Look, there’s something I really care about doing and I’m going to try really hard to do it,” he said.

He spoke with the confidence of someone who had confronted few failures, and predicted his presence on the debate stage without elaboration. “You’re asking me,” he said. “I’m answering.”

Of course, Mr. Steyer’s own record at the company that made him rich, Farallon Capital Management, is likely to be subjected to fresh scrutiny, from tax sheltering to investments in coal and private prisons. In the interview, he pledged to release his tax returns, though he would not commit to a date other than that it would be before the Iowa caucuses in February.

Mr. Steyer has some experience in retail-level politicking, having fielded questions at town hall events around the country held by his group Need to Impeach.CreditRachel Mummey for The New York Times

For Mr. Steyer, his 2020 run is actually the culmination of a decade of political groundwork, as he has reinvented himself, from investor to political philanthropist and activist to candidate.

He has spent millions pressing for the impeachment of President Trump in television ads that promoted himself and his group Need to Impeach, while building up an eight-million-strong email list he can now pay to access (his campaign must technically rent the list, but that is little more than an accounting concern). And he constructed an environmental advocacy group, NextGen America, with chapters across the nation.

“He’s built an infrastructure that can be turned into working for a presidential campaign,” said Kevin Mack, chief strategist for Need to Impeach.

More than most first-time candidates, Mr. Steyer has some experience in retail-level politicking, having fielded questions at town hall events around the country held by Need to Impeach. Still, he can be stilted.

At the state fair, Mr. Steyer was pushed by an Iowa farmer about how a $15-an-hour minimum wage would work in rural areas. “I respect you’ve built a 37-million — billion — whatever it is,” the farmer, Kyle Gilchrist, said. “I’m a poor man from Van Buren County.” Mr. Gilchrist said he still baled hay himself. The billionaire lifted the farmer’s T-shirt sleeve to inspect his biceps, nodding in approval.

Mr. Steyer is not a self-funded politician in the centrist mold of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. In some ways, Mr. Steyer is a liberal occupying the same structural reform space as the progressive leaders in the polls, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders. He has embraced decriminalizing the border, expanding the Supreme Court and, as a private citizen, proposed a “wealth tax” on assets of the super rich last fall, before Ms. Warren did.

“Virtually everybody else in this race, including those two senators, comes from D.C., is part of the establishment,” Mr. Steyer said. “So if you think the problem is broken government, which is what I think, if you think that the corporations have bought the government, who do you think is going to reform it? Do you think it’s going to be someone from the grass roots, from the outside, who’s done it for 10 years? Or do you think it’s going to be someone from D.C.? It’s a fair question.”

If the idea of a wealthy mogul running as an unbought outsider against a rigged system and the political establishment sounds familiar, that is no accident.

“Mr. Trump had a point,” Mr. Steyer said. “I think that’s why he got elected. Because the system is broken. It turns out he’s the biggest stooge there is. His ads have also made an electability argument — that as a billionaire he has the standing to take on Mr. Trump on the economy.

When Mr. Trump came to the Iowa State Fair, in 2015, he arrived on his own private plane and brought along a helicopter for joy rides. Mr. Steyer said he only flies commercial for environmental reasons. He also refuses bottled water.

“Personal choice is not going to solve this problem,” he acknowledged, speaking of climate change. He said he had looked up exactly how much carbon he would have to sequester at his California ranch to offset the emissions from one private flight.

Back in January, Mr. Steyer’s personal choice had been to fly to Iowa and announce that he was not running for president. He reversed himself in July — “couldn’t sleep,” he explained — and is choosing to pour $100 million into running for president.

Which is why in the early August Iowa heat Mr. Steyer found himself belatedly speeding across the state fairgrounds — to see those 4-H farm animals he had been talking up for hours — before his scheduled commercial flight. He broke into a light jog, as his son, staff members and a couple of journalists followed in a slow-motion chase.

“Run, Forrest, run,” someone shouted as Mr. Steyer pumped his arms.

His eyes widened when he learned that some Democrats fly private planes on the trail. (“Are other people flying private?” “Like who?” “I’d love to know who’s flying private planes.” “How do you find that out?”)

“There’s a real question here about who takes climate seriously,” Mr. Steyer finally said. “It’s a real question.”

When Mr. Steyer arrived at the cattle barn, it was empty. “Doggone it,” he muttered to no one in particular.

With that, he and his staff were off to the airport.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Tom Steyer Debate Spot Is in Limbo. His Money Is Poised to Upend 2020 Anyway.

DES MOINES — As Tom Steyer, the 62-year-old billionaire former hedge funder and impeachment impresario, made his first trip to Iowa as a 2020 candidate this month, he embarked on the usual political circuit.

He delivered a soapbox speech at the state fair (“We have to break the corporate stranglehold on our democracy,” he said), visited the butter cow (“Not my first butter cow,” he corrected one fairgoer; he had been last year), sipped lemonade and professed his desire to see farm animals.

What was unusual for a man who has never held elected office and been running for president for only a few weeks was that people kept recognizing him along the way.

“Hey, it’s the YouTube guy!” one woman shouted as Mr. Steyer strode past.

He is the television guy, too. Mr. Steyer has spent $12 million on digital and television ads in only six weeks — more than any other Democrat has spent all year — often featuring him speaking straight into the camera.

“Your commercials make sense,” John Brinkmeyer of Hubbard, Iowa, told him. “They’re not the ones I turn off,” said Mike Poe of Marshalltown, Iowa. Catherine Rondema almost squealed when she spotted Mr. Steyer. She had come to Des Moines all the way from Portland, Ore., and had timed her fair visit to hear him speak. “I appreciate his commercials,” she explained.

Whether Mr. Steyer can become something more than the billionaire buying the ads about how “our democracy has been purchased” is an open question.

He is one poll away from becoming the 11th candidate to qualify for the September Democratic debate ahead of a Wednesday deadline. If he qualifies, he will prevent all the top contenders from sharing the same stage, as the field will be split over two nights. If he falls short, he is on track to make the stage in October.

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Mr. Steyer at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Older, white, male and wildly wealthy, Mr. Steyer would seem an unlikely messenger for a Democratic Party passionately debating racial and gender diversity, generational change and inequalities in American society. But his status as a virtual one-man “super PAC” is already upending the carefully laid strategies of Democratic rivals who now must grapple with the fact that they are unlikely to have the airwaves to themselves in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Running as something of a patrician populist, Mr. Steyer brushed aside the dissonance of someone with his résumé — Exeter, Yale, Stanford, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, his own hedge fund — flooding the airwaves with ads that castigate the influence of “the powerful and well-connected.”

“I am the outsider in this race,” Mr. Steyer said in an interview. He described Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as “part of the establishment” and asked if the front-runner in the polls, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., really understood what this moment called for.

“The question really is for anybody running, including Vice President Biden, are you aware of how much has to change?” Mr. Steyer said, outlining a two-pronged agenda that would begin with rule changes to curb corporate power followed by significant action to address climate change.

In a fraction of the time, Mr. Steyer has already outspent his opponents online: $1 million on Google and $3.9 million on Facebook, peaking at $215,000 a day on Facebook as he sought the 130,000 donors needed to qualify for the next debate.

His rivals, including Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, have accused him of simply buying his way in. The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires,” Ms. Warren tweeted the day Mr. Steyer entered the race.

Activists and Democratic officials have generally been muted in their criticism of a top financier who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on political causes in the past decade. Many privately acknowledged having received Mr. Steyer’s funds in the past, or hope to in the future, and said that was part of why they are not speaking publicly against him.

Amanda Litman, the executive director of Run for Something, which encourages Democrats to pursue local office, said that Mr. Steyer could spend his money however he wished — “it’s his money!” — but that it would “go a lot further toward making progress on his goals if he invested in state legislatures.”

“We don’t have as many billionaires as the G.O.P. does — we need them all to be in the right fight,” Ms. Litman said.

Mr. Steyer greeting attendees at the Iowa State Fair.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times

The Steyer campaign has floated a $100 million campaign budget, which is more than the top five candidates for the Democratic nomination — Mr. Biden, Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Kamala Harris — raised in the second quarter combined.

He has paid up to $10,000 for a single 30-second spot on broadcast television in Boston, even though the New Hampshire voters he is targeting are only a small fraction of the station’s audience. In Iowa, no target audience appears too small: He is saturating viewers of Black Entertainment Television in Cedar Rapids, for instance, with spots as cheap as $11 that are running seven days a week, according to Federal Communications Commission records.

Mr. Steyer is staffing up, too. His website currently lists roughly 90 job openings, including state directors in far-flung and often unstaffed states like Vermont, Utah, Alabama and Oklahoma.

“Most of the insiders, they don’t have a clue how much money he can spend. They just don’t,” said Bill Carrick, a Democratic strategist who has seen Mr. Steyer’s spending up close in California, where Mr. Steyer has bankrolled ballot measures against the oil and tobacco industries.

“You underestimate my brother at your peril,” said Jim Steyer, who is one year older. Jim said that when Tom considered runs for California governor or senator, Ms. Harris and Gavin Newsom, now the governor, would use him as a back channel to find out about his brother’s plans. “People like Gavin and Kamala, they were always afraid of Tom.”

One big unknown is whether Mr. Steyer will use his financial might to obliterate his opponents with negative ads. Those who have worked with Mr. Steyer describe him as a fiercely competitive man used to getting his way.

“He’s been thinking about this for a long time,” said Gil Duran, a former Steyer adviser. “I don’t think there’s a limit on what he’ll do to try to reach this goal.”

Mr. Steyer himself said he would not rule out negative ads, regardless of criticism he might face from the party. “Look, there’s something I really care about doing and I’m going to try really hard to do it,” he said.

He spoke with the confidence of someone who had confronted few failures, and predicted his presence on the debate stage without elaboration. “You’re asking me,” he said. “I’m answering.”

Of course, Mr. Steyer’s own record at the company that made him rich, Farallon Capital Management, is likely to be subjected to fresh scrutiny, from tax sheltering to investments in coal and private prisons. In the interview, he pledged to release his tax returns, though he would not commit to a date other than that it would be before the Iowa caucuses in February.

Mr. Steyer has some experience in retail-level politicking, having fielded questions at town hall events around the country held by his group Need to Impeach.CreditRachel Mummey for The New York Times

For Mr. Steyer, his 2020 run is actually the culmination of a decade of political groundwork, as he has reinvented himself, from investor to political philanthropist and activist to candidate.

He has spent millions pressing for the impeachment of President Trump in television ads that promoted himself and his group Need to Impeach, while building up an eight-million-strong email list he can now pay to access (his campaign must technically rent the list, but that is little more than an accounting concern). And he constructed an environmental advocacy group, NextGen America, with chapters across the nation.

“He’s built an infrastructure that can be turned into working for a presidential campaign,” said Kevin Mack, chief strategist for Need to Impeach.

More than most first-time candidates, Mr. Steyer has some experience in retail-level politicking, having fielded questions at town hall events around the country held by Need to Impeach. Still, he can be stilted.

At the state fair, Mr. Steyer was pushed by an Iowa farmer about how a $15-an-hour minimum wage would work in rural areas. “I respect you’ve built a 37-million — billion — whatever it is,” the farmer, Kyle Gilchrist, said. “I’m a poor man from Van Buren County.” Mr. Gilchrist said he still baled hay himself. The billionaire lifted the farmer’s T-shirt sleeve to inspect his biceps, nodding in approval.

Mr. Steyer is not a self-funded politician in the centrist mold of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. In some ways, Mr. Steyer is a liberal occupying the same structural reform space as the progressive leaders in the polls, Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders. He has embraced decriminalizing the border, expanding the Supreme Court and, as a private citizen, proposed a “wealth tax” on assets of the super rich last fall, before Ms. Warren did.

“Virtually everybody else in this race, including those two senators, comes from D.C., is part of the establishment,” Mr. Steyer said. “So if you think the problem is broken government, which is what I think, if you think that the corporations have bought the government, who do you think is going to reform it? Do you think it’s going to be someone from the grass roots, from the outside, who’s done it for 10 years? Or do you think it’s going to be someone from D.C.? It’s a fair question.”

If the idea of a wealthy mogul running as an unbought outsider against a rigged system and the political establishment sounds familiar, that is no accident.

“Mr. Trump had a point,” Mr. Steyer said. “I think that’s why he got elected. Because the system is broken. It turns out he’s the biggest stooge there is. His ads have also made an electability argument — that as a billionaire he has the standing to take on Mr. Trump on the economy.

When Mr. Trump came to the Iowa State Fair, in 2015, he arrived on his own private plane and brought along a helicopter for joy rides. Mr. Steyer said he only flies commercial for environmental reasons. He also refuses bottled water.

“Personal choice is not going to solve this problem,” he acknowledged, speaking of climate change. He said he had looked up exactly how much carbon he would have to sequester at his California ranch to offset the emissions from one private flight.

Back in January, Mr. Steyer’s personal choice had been to fly to Iowa and announce that he was not running for president. He reversed himself in July — “couldn’t sleep,” he explained — and is choosing to pour $100 million into running for president.

Which is why in the early August Iowa heat Mr. Steyer found himself belatedly speeding across the state fairgrounds — to see those 4-H farm animals he had been talking up for hours — before his scheduled commercial flight. He broke into a light jog, as his son, staff members and a couple of journalists followed in a slow-motion chase.

“Run, Forrest, run,” someone shouted as Mr. Steyer pumped his arms.

His eyes widened when he learned that some Democrats fly private planes on the trail. (“Are other people flying private?” “Like who?” “I’d love to know who’s flying private planes.” “How do you find that out?”)

“There’s a real question here about who takes climate seriously,” Mr. Steyer finally said. “It’s a real question.”

When Mr. Steyer arrived at the cattle barn, it was empty. “Doggone it,” he muttered to no one in particular.

With that, he and his staff were off to the airport.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com