President Donald Trump’s involvement in the Ukraine whistleblower controversy left the “Last Week Tonight” comedian feeling seriously upbeat that Trump could fall after “so many terrible things” he has done.
“This particular Trump scandal does start to feel a little different and something that is absolutely meriting of impeachment,” Oliver said on his HBO show Sunday. “The fact that it is so consistent with all of Trump’s other behaviors suggests that it is a pattern that will continue until he leaves office one way or another.”
Oliver briskly summed up the head-spinning developments in the scandal, which starts with Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he repeatedly asked to “get dirt” on Joe Biden and his son Hunter for political advantage, tying the so-called favor to military aid for Ukraine. White House officials then appeared to attempt a coverup of the call because of its potential abuse of power.
Oliver dubbed the scandal “Stupid Watergate II: The Stupidest Watergate.”
“Perhaps the most shocking part of this is that it might actually hurt” Trump, Oliver said, unlike the president’s previous misbehavior.
“People seem legitimately furious over this,” he continued. “The House has opened an impeachment inquiry and even a few Republicans seem to be treading with caution for a change. It kind of does makes you wonder ‘why now?’ The president has done so many terrible things ― why does this one count? It’s hard to say — but it might just be because this one is simpler in some key ways.”
Watch above for Oliver’s insightful and witty breakdown.
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Trumps “Civil War” is going to turn into the same type of crowd “Millions of people” storming Area 51 ended up being, just like all these other MAGA/Alt Right marches and events- 18 dipshits with flags and tri-corner hats screaming about the “MAGA Revolution”
what worries me more than anything isnt some civil war, that’s fuckin nonsense imo, it’s some MAGA dipshit hurting innocent people in an act of terrorism like the other half dozen times this fucking buffoon has inspired a legit crazy person to act.
The fucking GOP is dead to me for tacitly and overtly supporting this idiot, they need to be abandoned en-masse and all you sensible and reasonable (but imo misguided) conservatives that want progress just slower and cheaper (traditional 40s-70s Republicans) need to start a new party. your GOP has been taken over by slavering idiots and you need to hit reset, theres no saving the current structure, you dont want people in your party that are “for” this guy.
The Cubs were among the contenders to win the National League Central at the beginning of the month or at least make the National League Wildcard game, but the team went 11-16 in September, including a nine-game losing streak. That collapse appeared to be the final straw for the Cubs.
The Cubs’ president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein, made the announcement with Maddon.
“We both agreed that it’s time and this type of change is a win-win,” Epstein said, according to NBC Sports Chicago. “It’s gonna be great for Joe at a wonderful point in his life and — he won’t talk about this right now, but I will — there’s gonna be a bidding war for his services and there should be and he’s in a great position.”
Epstein added: “I so look forward to his next chapter in baseball and in life. And it’s gonna be good for the Cubs, too. I think we’re at a point where we just need a little bit of change and something new and that’s natural. That’s the natural way of things. Change, if you embrace it the right way, is good for all of us.”
“It’s a great day, actually, because, like Theo said, I agree. You’ve heard me talk about it in the past — change is good. Change can be very good for everybody involved. I’m eternally grateful,” Maddon said, according to MLB.com.
Maddon took over for the Cubs prior to the 2015 season. He helped engineer the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win, which broke a long drought of championship-less seasons, and came amid a run of three consecutive trips to the National League Championship Series.
The Cubs had two 90-win seasons after the World Series title, but never got back to the series.
Maddon’s 84-win season in 2019 is the lowest of his tenure with the Cubs.
New Orleans Saints: They’re 3-1. Which is no small task, considering they’re also 2-0 since starting quarterback Drew Brees went down with a thumb injury and the two squads they’ve toppled since then — the Seahawks and the Cowboys — were both undefeated when they played them. New Orleans beat Dallas 12-10 on Sunday night in a game in which it didn’t score a touchdown, but instead converted four field goals. The defense clamped down on the Cowboys’ rushing attack, holding Ezekiel Elliott to 35 yards, the third-lowest total of his career. The date to watch is Week 9, when the Saints have their bye. Until then, they face the Buccaneers, Jaguars, Bears and Cardinals, who are 7-8-1 combined. If the Saints can tread water until then — with a possible Brees return Week 10 — they should remain steady as legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the NFC.
Leonard Fournette: For the first time since Week 11 of 2017, Fournette, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ running back, ran for 100 yards or more. Emphasis on more. He actually finished Jacksonville’s 26-24 victory with 225 yards. He was instrumental in helping the Jags score 20 unanswered points and 23 of the last 26 points of the game to erase a 14-point deficit. His rushing total was a career high, and remarkably, 190 of them came in the second half.
Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield: Facing mounting criticism over a sluggish start, perhaps no other team sent a stronger message Sunday than the Cleveland Browns. In a battle for first place in the AFC North, Cleveland dominated Baltimore on the road, winning 40-25. Kitchens, Cleveland’s head coach, and Mayfield, its quarterback, were much improved over their previous performances. For one, Mayfield faced far less pressure. He was sacked just once after being sacked 10 times in the first three games. But even when he simply faced pressure, Mayfield hung in the pocket and delivered passes with more accuracy. He had been bailing the pocket in the face of phantom pressure. And Kitchens was calculated in his play calls. While Baltimore mostly double-teamed Odell Beckham Jr., Kitchens dialed up plays that honed in on possession passes with Jarvis Landry leading the day with eight catches for 167 yards. Running back Nick Chubb, however, was the backbreaker, churning through 165 yards and three scores. It’s early, but the Browns now hold a crucial tiebreaker over Baltimore.
Jon Gruden: For the first time in 18 years, the Oakland Raiders won in Indianapolis. Facing the second roadtrip to the Midwest in as many weeks, just seven days after a thorough loss against the Vikings, Gruden dialed up a gameplan that focused on efficiency both in the passing and rushing attack and helped the Raiders beat the Colts, 31-24, to improve to 2-2. Facing mounting criticism over their inability to stop Vikings running back Dalvin Cook last week, the Raiders limited the Colts to only 81 rushing yards, while Oakland churned out 188 on a 5.9 yards-per-carry average. It snapped a two-game losing streak, and helped the team keep pace at second place in the AFC West.
Jay Gruden: Jon’s brother wasn’t as fortunate. Jay Gruden, the coach of the Washington Redskins, reportedly is coaching for his job and might be in trouble after the latest loss, 24-3, to the New York Giants. He benched veteran quarterback Case Keenum in the middle of the second quarter in favor of rookie first-round passer Dwayne Haskins. But it wasn’t much better. While Haskins helped lead Washington to a scoring drive in his first series, Washington went just three of 11 on third-down tries and generated just 176 yards of total offense. Haskins might have provided a brief spark, but his three interceptions showed he still has a long way to go. And Gruden might not have the time.
Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan: Another coach who might be in danger of losing his job, Quinn’s Falcons are one of those teams that are simply difficult to read. They have an abundance of speed and talent, just three years removed from playing in the Super Bowl. Yet, after it fell to the Titans, 24-10, Atlanta is 1-3 and in last place in the NFC South. Ryan snapped what was the second-longest active stretch of games with at least one scoring pass with 18. He threw the ball 53 times for 397 yards, but couldn’t find the end zone. The Falcons, again, had issues in the red zone, converting on just one of three trips inside the 20. The Falcons offense is one that lacks identity. It was just one play, but perhaps none other defined the start of the season more than a fourth-and-four from the Tennessee 25-yard line with 7:21 to play in the fourth quarter. The Falcons were down by two touchdowns. Yet Ryan took a snap with an empty backfield, left the pocket early and tried to scramble. Tennessee defenders quickly smothered him, stopped him short of the line of scrimmage, and turned the ball over on downs.
Minnesota Vikings: You can make the case that the Vikings have kicked off 2019 as one of the more inconsistent teams in the entire NFL. They’ve alternated between wins and losses in each of their four games, but the 16-6 defeat against the Bears was particularly concerning over an offensive ineptitude that could spell trouble down the stretch. The offensive line allowed six sacks, which meant Kirk Cousins was under duress all game long. But Cousins still hasn’t lived up to the billing when he signed his three-year, fully-guaranteed $84 million deal in March of 2018. The Vikes still have the rest of this season and next year to navigate this contract. Oh, and by the way, the only other quarterback who had a longer active streak of games with at least one touchdown pass than Ryan? That was Cousins, whose stretch of 19 straight was snapped, too.
Adam Thielen: “At some point, you’re not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL. That’s when you have to be able to throw the ball. … You have to be able to hit the deep balls.”
Deshaun Watson: The Texans traded for former Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil. They drafted right tackle Tytus Howard (first round) and left guard Max Scharping (second). Yet, somehow, the Houston Texans’ offensive line is still letting Watson get hit way too many times. In a 16-10 loss against the Carolina Panthers, Watson was sacked six times and hit 10 times. The Texans are now tied with the Dolphins for dead last in the NFL with 18 sacks allowed. This is just par for the course for Watson and Houston, which ranked last in sacks allowed last season (62) and second-to-last in 2017 (54). Watson does share some of the blame, though, as he ranks third-from-last in the league in time to throw among starting quarterbacks, getting the ball off in an average of 2.92 seconds after the snap. Houston is 2-2, which is tied with all teams in the AFC South, but if Watson keeps taking a beating, it’s hard to see him staying healthy for long.
A South Florida official is being criticized over a video that shows him calling out a sheriff’s deputy during an awards ceremony, claiming the law enforcement officer had falsely arrested him four years earlier.
City commissioner Mike Gelin on Wednesday shamed Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Gallardo during an Officer-of-the-Month program at the Tamarac City Commission meeting, according to NBC Miami.
After Gallardo and others were honored, Gelin is seen grabbing the microphone and calling Gallardo back down to the floor.
“It’s good to see you again. You probably don’t remember me. But you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago,” Gelin said. “You lied on the police report. I believe you are a rogue police officer, you’re a bad police officer and you don’t deserve to be here.”
During the confrontation, Gallardo nods his head and gives a thumbs up and walks away after Gelin is finished talking. Mayor Michelle Gomez then takes the microphone to thank the sheriff’s office.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we appreciate as a whole BSO and everything you do for us,” Gomez said. “Thank you for your service to our community. We appreciate you. Please take that away from here today.”
Gelin referred to a 2015 incident in which he was arrested for charges of resisting and obstructing without violence, the Miami Herald reports. He had allegedly recorded police while they responded to a battery incident.
Gelin was not a city commissioner at the time of the arrest and charges were dropped.
His decision to publicly call out the sheriff’s deputy during the celebratory event was slammed by some, including the head of the police union.
“As a public official, Commissioner Gelin’s behavior towards a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy is unacceptable,” PBA president Rod Skirvin said.
The union said it had withdrawn its endorsement of Gelin.
“The Broward County PBA will not endorse any elected official who treats law enforcement officers with a complete lack of respect and common courtesy the way Commissioner Gelin did in his official duties representing the city of Tamarac,” Skirvin added.
Mayor Gomez also criticized Gelin for the incident and called his behavior “highly inappropriate.”
“This was neither the time nor the forum to air personal grievances. I believe this clearly violated the City’s civility code,” Gomez said. “This is NOT the way we treat employees or people who work for our City. There are proper channels to follow, but the Commissioner chose not to use them.”
The mayor said she talked with the city attorney about possible actions taken against Gelin and thanked Deputy Gallardo for handling the moment in a “professional way.”
Fellow Tamarac Commissioner Julie Fishman also criticized Gelin, saying he should have handled the matter privately.
“While I am a strong proponent of freedom of speech and did not give that up when I was elected, I am also a proponent of the right time and the right place,” Fishman said in a Facebook post. “Our Commission recognition of the ‘Officers of the Month’ was neither.”
In a statement, Gelin thanked his supporters writing, “wrongful arrests can have life long and career altering consequences. It is important that justice applies to everyone.”
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Orange County was the epicenter of the 2018 House Democratic takeover, where Republicans lost four seats in what was once the heart of Ronald Reagan conservatism in California. On Saturday night, as three of the victorious Democrats were honored at an annual political dinner, a new battle was on everyone’s minds: How to protect those gains in 2020 by selling voters on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.
At the dinner, Representative Harley Rouda warned Democrats not to “sit on our laurels.” Representative Mike Levin solemnly said “the times have found us.” And Representative Gil Cisneros, who came out for the inquiry only last week, plugged his campaign website twice to ask for donations and noted, “The Republicans are coming after me now.”
A tricky balancing act is now underway for House Democrats as they return to their districts for a two-week recess that will double as a crucial time to frame a coast-to-coast debate over impeachment and the nation’s priorities.
Even as surveys showed more Americans embracing an impeachment investigation, voters talked mostly about issues like health care and the economy over the weekend at town hall meetings and party gatherings with House Democrats. Those members, especially in battleground districts, responded by highlighting their policy accomplishments and goals — while at the same time attempting to shape public opinion on impeachment and prepare voters for coming G.O.P. attacks.
That Democratic messaging challenge came into sharp relief during interviews with voters like Donna Artukovic, a retired teacher who was volunteering at the Orange County dinner. Ms. Artukovic expressed nervousness about what an impeachment battle could mean for Democratic candidates.
“I am afraid it’s going to hurt them,” she said. “A lot of people — even who don’t like Trump — don’t like impeachment.”
Who’s Running for President in 2020?
Jan. 21, 2019
Representative Andy Kim of New Jersey, a Democrat who ousted a Republican incumbent in 2018 by focusing on issues like health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, held a town hall-style meeting in his district on Saturday where only one voter asked about impeachment (and even then, it was part of a multipronged question). In an interview afterward, Mr. Kim noted the paucity of questions on a topic that has engulfed Washington.
Referring to his constituents, he said: “They don’t want us to stop working on lower prescription drug costs and health care costs; they want us to move forward on infrastructure and jobs.”
As committed as he is on those goals, Mr. Kim said, he will also seek to draw on his experience as a former National Security Council member — which included sitting in on President Barack Obama’s calls to world leaders — to explain his views to voters on a matter like President Trump’s phone conversation this summer with the president of Ukraine.
“That’s hopefully what they’ll judge me on,” he said, “whether or not I was able to do this with a level of professionalism that’s distant from the partisanship they so badly despise.”
The House Democrats’ decision to undertake an impeachment investigation has already upended the presidential campaign, presenting both risks and opportunities to Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, whose son’s work for a Ukrainian gas company prompted Mr. Trump’s extraordinary intervention. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s change of heart on impeachment, following months of reluctance to pursue an inquiry in the face of polls showing public resistance, has injected just as much uncertainty into the Democrats’ effort to retain the House.
Representative Mike Levin speaking at the dinner in Orange County.CreditAllison Zaucha for The New York Times
It was new support for the impeachment inquiry from first-term lawmakers that steeled Ms. Pelosi to back the inquiry. But it is these same lawmakers who handed Democrats their 40-seat victory last year and who are taking a political leap of faith by backing the impeachment investigation.
The question that could determine their chances for re-election in 2020, and those of their Republican counterparts in both chambers who are defending the president, is whether the new evidence detailing Mr. Trump’s political overtures to Ukraine is enough to change public opinion of a president whose standing has been remarkably consistent despite his norm-breaking conduct.
The first independent polling since Democrats began the inquiry carries reassuring news for them — as well as some cautionary signs. A CBS News survey released Sunday indicated that 55 percent of Americans support an impeachment investigation, with Democrats now overwhelmingly supportive and independents about evenly divided. But only 42 percent of those surveyed said Mr. Trump deserved to be impeached, with 22 percent saying it was too soon to determine. This uncertainty is why House Democratic leaders are at pains to emphasize that they are not yet seeking to impeach Mr. Trump, but rather that they want to conduct a thorough investigation into his actions with the Ukranians.
“We’re not ready to call for an impeachment,” said Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, who chairs the House Democratic campaign committee and herself represents a district Mr. Trump carried. Ms. Bustos said the party’s message would be: “Let’s get to the truth.”
One reason she and other party leaders are acting carefully is the political standing of the remaining holdouts in the House Democratic caucus: Of the 12 members who have yet to call for even an inquiry, nine are freshman.
And some of these lawmakers, as well as colleagues from similarly competitive districts, are deeply uneasy about seeming too rash.
In a meeting before they left Washington last week, these vulnerable Democrats pressed Ms. Pelosi and her lieutenants to steer some of the more fervently pro-impeachment members of the House Judiciary Committee away from serving as the party’s on-air messengers for the inquiry, according to Democrats familiar with the conversation. And to give lawmakers a more substantive message to take home, Democratic leaders distributed packets on their next major piece of legislation, a prescription drugs pricing bill.
Representative Andy Kim at a town hall on Saturday in Seaside Heights, N.J.CreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times
Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, who represents a red-tinted district, said many voters needed time to make up their minds about impeachment and to understand the gravity of Mr. Trump’s call to Ukraine.
“I don’t think they’re there yet,” said Ms. Slotkin, another freshman, of her district’s voters. “Because there’s been a drip, drip, drip for months on this.”
In some of the more affluent districts that Democrats flipped last year, the first-term lawmakers have received reassurance in recent days that they are making the right decision. Mr. Rouda, Mr. Levin and Mr. Cisneros all said in separate interviews that the calls and emails that had come into their offices in the last week had been overwhelmingly in favor of pursuing impeachment.
And Representative Dean Phillips of Minnesota, who was the first freshman lawmaker to come out for the investigation last Monday, said that he received a number of calls from Republicans and independent voters who had pressed him to hold the president accountable.
Mr. Phillips’s fellow Minnesotan, Representative Tom Emmer, a Republican who chairs the party’s House campaign committee, said flatly that House Democrats’ impeachment march “will cost them their majority in 2020.”
Yet the most striking element of the CBS survey may have been the Republican movement on the matter: 23 percent of those surveyed said they supported an inquiry.
While that is a relatively small number, it is likely higher in the more upscale G.O.P. districts, such as the one Mr. Phillips represents outside Minneapolis, and it suggests there is an appetite for at least an examination of Mr. Trump’s actions.
That was apparent at a panel held in Austin, Tex., Saturday in conjunction with the Texas Tribune’s “TribFest.” While Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, two of Mr. Trump’s stoutest Republican allies in Congress, defended him, Representative Chip Roy of Texas said he wanted “to look at the facts.”
Some Republican strategists believe that the key for Mr. Trump is to make impeachment look like a partisan endeavor, with perceptions falling along the same lines of the country’s existing political polarization. The danger for him, then, is that any cracks among Republican lawmakers on impeachment could muddy this red-and-blue divide that often influences voters to side with their preferred parties.
If Republicans are not entirely united on the question of the investigation, Democrats are closing ranks.
Sarah Hunter, a retiree from Huntington Beach, Calif., said the Democrats she gathered with each day at her local dog park had gone from divided to united on the question.
“This latest thing is so egregious, it is so unbelievable that I do believe it’s time” to pursue an impeachment investigation, said Ms. Hunter, who attended Saturday’s party dinner here, where registered Democrats last month began outnumbering registered Republicans.
In addition to the new converts like Ms. Hunter, Democratic lawmakers have also been hearing from activists like Chris Simoes, a mail courier who attended Mr. Kim’s town hall Saturday on the Jersey Shore. Ms. Simoes said she called the lawmaker’s Washington office every day urging him to support impeachment after the transcript of Mr. Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president was released last week.
“I need Andy to get on board. What are you waiting for?” Ms. Simoes recounted saying. “I kept telling them the same thing: I know he’s in a tough district. I know because we all helped him get elected. It’s a tough decision. But this is a bridge too far.”
The most crucial voter bloc may be the increasingly small share of Americans in the political center. And that’s why Democrats are so determined to frame their actions as an inquiry rather than an impeachment.
“If this is a choice between investigating or stonewalling, a significant majority of independents will want to aggressively pursue this,” said Zac McCrary, a Democratic pollster.
Mr. Levin, the California congressman, said that a survey he commissioned in July showed that voters in his district, which stretches from north of Richard Nixon’s old home in San Clemente south to La Jolla, were slightly more opposed to impeachment than supportive of it. But he suggested more of his constituents were likely on board now because of the stark facts of Mr. Trump’s actions with Ukraine.
“I explained them the other day to my 7-year-old son,” he said, “and I think he understood them.”
Jonathan Martin reported from Anaheim, Calif., and Catie Edmondson from Seaside Heights, N.J.
More on the Impeachment Inquiry
Trump Was Repeatedly Warned That Ukraine Conspiracy Theory Was ‘Completely Debunked’
Sept. 29, 2019
Biden Campaign Urges TV Networks to Stop Booking Giuliani
Sept. 29, 2019
Full Document: Trump’s Call With the Ukrainian President
Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, leaving a House Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a private appeal on Sunday to Democrats not to squander their chance to build public support for a full-scale impeachment inquiry into President Trump, pressing lawmakers to maintain a simple and somber message as she declared “we are ready” to push forward with a politically divisive process.
“The polls have changed drastically about this,” Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, told her colleagues during a private conference call, according to a Democratic aide who listened and described the private conversation on condition of anonymity. “Our tone must be prayerful, respectful, solemn, worthy of the Constitution.”
After months of murky messaging around a confusing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Mr. Trump’s efforts to derail that inquiry, Democrats believe the new push, centered on Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure the leader of Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, gives them a fresh start with the public — a chance to make a clear-cut case that the president deserves to be removed.
Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the Democrat who leads the Intelligence Committee, told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that more subpoenas in the inquiry would be coming as soon as early this week, including one for Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer whom he deputized to follow up with the Ukrainians on investigating former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Congress is now on a two-week recess, and most lawmakers are back home in their districts. Party leaders sent the rank and file home on Friday with instructions and talking points cards aimed at emphasizing the gravity of the moment. They contained two central messages for lawmakers to deliver to constituents: Mr. Trump abused his office, and Democrats would follow the facts.
Only a month ago, Ms. Pelosi told Democrats in another confidential conference call that the public support for an impeachment inquiry simply did not exist. But in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday evening, she said changed circumstances had altered her calculus.
“We could not ignore what the president did. He gave us no choice,” she said, adding: “I always said we will follow the facts where they take us, and when we see them, we will be ready. And we are ready.”
More than half of Americans — and an overwhelming number of Democrats — say they approve of the inquiry, according to a CBS News poll released Sunday. But the survey found a partisan split, with most Democrats calling the president’s handling of Ukraine illegal and most Republicans calling Mr. Trump’s actions proper — or, if improper, at least legal.
The week-old inquiry is barreling forward, even with lawmakers out of town for a two-week recess. Mr. Schiff, appearing on the ABC program “This Week,” said Sunday that the whistle-blower who triggered the inquiry would testify “very soon.”
But Mr. Schiff hinted the committee might not call Mr. Giuliani, the bombastic former New York mayor who was essentially running a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine on behalf of Mr. Trump. Interviewed on ABC shortly before Mr. Schiff, Mr. Giuliani at first said he “wouldn’t cooperate with Adam Schiff,” then said he “will consider it.”
Sunday night was only the latest effort by Ms. Pelosi to try to strike a dignified tone for the process with her appearance on “60 Minutes.” In a series of interviews, she has been making the case that Mr. Trump engaged in “a cover-up,” calling this moment a “sad day for our country.”
But the carefully coordinated messaging campaign may be upended before it starts. Liberals are reveling in news of an inquiry that they believe should have been opened long ago. The campaign of Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, whose profane cry for impeachment made news on her first day in office, is already selling T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan using a two-letter abbreviation for the expletive she used back in January.
And on the presidential campaign trail, Democrats are talking up impeachment, which poses a danger that the public will think the party is prejudging the outcome of the inquiry and politicizing a solemn task that has grave implications for the future of the nation.
“We need to make sure this is fact-driven and evidence-based, “ said Representative Josh Gottheimer, a centrist Democrat from New Jersey who had resisted calls for the inquiry until now. “You can’t prejudge something that is so solemn and obviously could have a big historical impact on our country, and you need to keep the country together.”
On Friday, three congressional committees issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding that he produce documents and a slate of witnesses that could shed light on Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations into his political opponents, including Mr. Biden.
And while Ms. Pelosi has said the House would continue to investigate other aspects of the Trump presidency, it is becoming increasingly clear that Ukraine is the central focus and that Mr. Schiff, a former prosecutor, is its de facto leader. Although Mr. Trump has repeatedly called on Mr. Schiff to resign, many Democrats believe he presents a good face to the public.
Representative Cheri Bustos, Democrat of Illinois, who runs the party’s campaign arm, told colleagues on the call that her committee would begin polling voters in key swing districts on impeachment and the House’s inquiry, according to three Democrats on the call.
Mr. Schiff has scheduled a closed briefing on Friday with the inspector general of the intelligence community, who conducted a preliminary investigation of the whistle-blower complaint and found it credible.
“We have to flesh out all of the facts for the American people,” Mr. Schiff wrote in a letter to colleagues. “The seriousness of the matter and the danger to our country demands nothing less.”
For moderates in Trump-friendly districts — many of whom opposed opening an inquiry just a week ago — this moment is fraught with political peril. Some vulnerable freshmen who now support the inquiry are already saying that they are aware that they may become one-term members of Congress as a result. Some are bracing for a backlash at home.
“I’m going to tell my constituents that this is a decision I never wanted to have to make, that the president left us no choice but to open an impeachment inquiry,” said Representative Angie Craig, a freshman from Minnesota who flipped a Republican seat in a district won by the president. She added, “I didn’t come here to impeach the president.”
Ms. Craig and other moderates met privately with Ms. Pelosi on Thursday, seeking guidance on how to talk about impeachment back home. She writes a weekly newsletter to her constituents, and said she intended to use it to invite constituents to draw their own conclusions, and will ask them to read relevant documents, including the whistle-blower’s complaint.
Representative Adam Schiff has scheduled a closed briefing on Friday with the inspector general of the intelligence community.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times
Democrats believe the facts are on their side. The president has acknowledged talking to Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, about investigating Mr. Biden. The transcript of their July 25 call and the whistle-blower’s complaint back that up. It is an easy-to-understand, digestible narrative, unlike the other inquiries Democrats have been pursuing, including the Russia investigation, hush money payments and Mr. Trump’s business dealings.
“I still believe in story,” said Representative Anna G. Eshoo, Democrat of California and a close ally of Ms. Pelosi. “There’s clarity to this Ukraine story.”
But it will be a hard conversation for vulnerable moderates like Representative Dean Phillips, Democrat of Minnesota, who also resisted an inquiry until recently.
“I come from a very engaged district that is thoughtful, respectful for the most part and believes in accountability,” he said. “I am grateful to those Republican constituents of mine and throughout the country who recognize this isn’t about an individual president or politician, this is about process, principle and the rule of law.”
His message to voters who ask him what he is doing? “I’m doing my job.”
Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting from Washington, and Jonathan Martin from Austin, Tex.
House Democrats Issue First Subpoena in Impeachment Inquiry
Sept. 27, 2019
Once More With Feeling, Democrats Try to Squash Impeachment Talk
Noted gender equality activist Anita Hill told Wellesley College graduates: “We cannot squander the powerful voices” of the #metoo movement during the commencement ceremony Friday. (May 31) AP
When #MeToo exploded in the fall of 2017, its most optimistic promise was that it would become more than a hashtag, more than a brief interruption in America’s regularly scheduled sexism, more than a reckoning for famous men who had abused wealthy, white women.
There were front-page headlines, explosions of long-stifled rage and examinations of collective complicity. There was hope those two small words signaled the beginning of meaningful change and, eventually, healing – a belief the silence was finally broken.
Has #MeToo delivered?
“People are paying more attention, but I’m not convinced that we’re able or ready to behave differently about it as a nation,” said Kristen Houser, chief public affairs officer at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
#MeToo’s progress paints a murky picture.
Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, ascended to the Supreme Court. President Donald Trump, who has been accused by 19 womenof sexual misconduct, was recently accused of rape by prominent writer E. Jean Carroll, and public reaction was muted. While Congress has overhauled the process for handling sexual harassment claims on Capitol Hill, it has not passed any legislation in the past two years to address sexual harassment in America’s workplaces. Thousands of migrant children who crossed the southern border into the U.S. have reported they weresexually assaulted while in government custody.
But Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually assaulted hundreds of girls and young women throughout his career, was given prison sentences in 2017 and 2018 that ensure he will die behind bars, and more than a hundred of his victims were permitted to address him directly in court. Bill Cosby, who for years dodged allegations that he had preyed on women since the 1960s, was incarcerated last year for sexual assault. After decades of the music industry turning a blind eye to allegations R. Kelly physically and sexually abused scores of girls and women, the singer and songwriter has been charged with federal sex crimes.
In the past two years, state legislators introduced approximately 200 bills to address workplace harassment, according to an analysis from the National Women’s Law Center. More than 5,000 people have requested help from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, and the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network says calls to its hotlines have increased more than 60%.
#MeToo has affirmed for survivors they are not alone, sexual violence experts say – that they are part of something bigger than their individual traumas. It’s led to the downfall of some men and to sporadic pockets of progress in some states and industries.
But experts say widespread justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators is still far off. Notably, #MeToo’s progress has lagged among working-class Americans and women of color.
What #MeToo has changed
Houser, of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, said the biggest impact of #MeToo is decreased stigma and increased awareness.
“After 27 years of working in the sexual assault arena, things now just feel different,” she said. “Neighbors, family, friends, not just colleagues, are interested in this and they have the ability to ask more educated questions. They are slightly better informed.”
Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime, according to a 2019 study produced by the University of California, San Diego, and the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment.
Leontyne Evans, a survivor of childhood molestation, rape and domestic violence, says #MeToo has cleared the way for countless survivors like herself to speak openly about that trauma.
“It’s the secrets that burden you. It’s the hiding that burdens you,” she said.
Abra Poindexter, a rape survivor and psychotherapist in Omaha, Nebraska, says after #MeToo she became more open about her own survivorship. But the bigger impact, she says, has been on her caseload. Poindexter says #MeToo has empowered many of her patients, who see news stories of victims holding their abusers accountable, to come forward after years of silence.
“I have three cases right now in which folks … are directly confronting perpetrators in their families, and it’s having a profound ripple effect,” she said. “In one family, two other survivors came forward.”
When #MeToo entered the national consciousness, there were questions about whom the movement was really for. Headlines were largely dominated by stories of white, wealthy, straight, cisgender women, even though rates of sexual violence are disproportionally higher for poor women, women of color and LGBTQ people.
While actor Alyssa Milano is credited with helping #MeToo go viral, the hashtag was first used more than 10 years ago by activist Tarana Burke to help poor young women of color who have been sexually abused, assaulted, exploited or harassed.
Many of these women didn’t see themselves in the 2017 movement. Several of the men brought down in the initial wave were high-powered players in Hollywood, media and politics. But an analysis of data from the left-leaning Center for American Progress shows more than a quarter of sexual harassment charges are filed in industries with large numbers of low-wage service-sector workers – industries dominated by women, particularly women of color.
Look at the fast-food industry. In September 2018, just shy of #MeToo’s one-year anniversary, McDonald’s workers in 10 cities across the U.S. went on a strike to protest sexual harassment. In May, more than two dozen women filed lawsuits against the company or filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying they were sexually harassed while working for the fast-food chain.
The charges – 25 filings in all – involve alleged incidents at McDonald’s restaurants and corporate offices in 20 cities across the U.S. in which workers as young as 16 faced harassing behavior that included groping, indecent exposure, propositions for sex and lewd comments by supervisors.
“It’s unacceptable that as the second-largest employer in the world, McDonald’s (doesn’t keep) workers like me safe, ” said Jamelia Fairley of Sanford, Florida, who says she dealt with a coworker’s unwanted touching and sexually explicit comments. Fairley says her harassment included asking her how much it would cost to have sex with her then-1-year-old daughter.
If the #MeToo movement’s ultimate demand is gender equality, activists agree,it must extend to industries not often in the spotlight, to communities where abuse often goes unchecked.
What hasn’t changed
Experts say while victims feel more comfortable speaking openly about their experiences, not enough attention is paid to perpetrators – why they commit violence and why they continue to get away with it.
“You can increase your compassion for victims and survivorship, but paying attention to how perpetrators set things up and get away with it is a ledge we haven’t yet crossed,” Houser said.
#MeToo also hasn’t done a good job connecting sexual assault to other toxic beliefs, Poindexter says.
“If you were in the middle of the country and you were sitting in on a batterers’ treatment group working with perps, the first element of working with them is looking at how white supremacy and racism and how misogyny and homophobia and transphobia are the elements that support ongoing sexual assault,” she said.
Much to the dismay of sexual assault advocates, #MeToo has become politicized, and hyper-partisanship may explain why there hasn’t been more progress.
Party divisions are extreme. Three-quarters of Republicans believe the movement has gone too far, while only a fifth of Democrats say the same, according to a 2018 Ipsos/NPR study.
“I would love somebody to tell me what that means,” Houser said. “Is there a certain amount of sexual harassment and assault that we should tolerate?”
Democrats have championed the most comprehensive attempts to overhaul federal law post-#MeToo – but their minority status in the Senate and the Trump’s Administration’s prior work to roll back harassment victims’ rights may doom its passage anytime soon (the White House slashed an Obama-era rule that prevented companies from forcing employees into arbitration when they’re sexually harassed or assaulted at work).
The Be Heard in the Workplace Act does the most to “address that power imbalance” between employees and their bosses, according to Jennifer Klein, chief strategy and policy officer at Time’s Up.
Be Heard would extend Civil Rights protections to millions more Americans by providing protections to those who don’t fall under the category of “employee,” including independent contractors, volunteers, interns, fellows, and trainees, regardless of the size of the business they work for. It would also provide LGBTQ workers with protection from employment discrimination, end mandatory arbitration and pre-employment nondisclosure agreements, give workers more time to report harassment and eliminate the tipped minimum wage.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and four other Democrats, all of whom are women.
When #MeToo exploded, Burke said it affirmed the power of those two words, though she wasn’t sure where it would all lead.
“There’s this moment that is happening that is wonderful and it’s viral, but there’s no discussion about what you do with this now,” she said. “What do you do with those feelings?”
Houser says she hopes people will channel them into efforts to change the structures in society that perpetuate sexism – from police departments and courtrooms to workplaces and college campuses.