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Poll: Pierre Delecto’s approval rating in Utah now underwater at 46/51

Westlake Legal Group m-7 Poll: Pierre Delecto’s approval rating in Utah now underwater at 46/51 utah Trump The Blog romney removal poll Policy Mike Lee impeachment delecto

Boy, this “secret Twitter account” thing has hurt him more than I thought it would.

No, I kid. Obviously the backlash in this poll is to his frequent noisy criticism of Trump. It comes with caveats, of course. First, Romney’s not up for reelection until 2024 (and who knows if he’ll even run again). He’ll be there hounding the president to the bitter end even if Trump gets a second term no matter how low his polling in Utah goes. Second, I’m not sure Romney particularly cares about his polling. His attacks lately on Trump are clearly the work of a guy who’s thinking more about his legacy than his hold on his seat. If he ends up as Jeff Flake and has to retire because he can’t win a primary, on a scale of one to 100 I’d guess his anxiety about that is somewhere in the neighborhood of “one.” And third, although Mike Lee has been a loyal soldier for Trump in the Senate for the most part (even backing his Syria withdrawal recently), Lee’s job approval is no better than Mitt’s. He’s at 43/47 compared to Romney’s 46/51. If kissing Trump’s ass is the secret to popularity with Republicans in Utah, why isn’t Lee at 60/40 or whatever?

Leave all that aside, though. This is a fantastic poll for Trump if only because it shows other Republicans in the Senate that not even Mitt Romney is immune from a backlash in Utah for criticizing him. If the first Mormon presidential nominee can be underwater in a state where Mormons are 60+ percent of the population simply because he’s anti-Trump, God help any GOP senator whose political position isn’t as secure in their own home state. See why I’m skeptical that Schumer will find even four Republicans to join with Democrats to give the pro-removal vote a majority of the Senate?

Although Romney’s and Lee’s overall approval numbers are nearly identical, the partisan coalitions that form their bases are starkly different. As you’d expect, right-wingers love Lee and then his popularity fades as you move further left. Romney, however, is disliked by both the very right-wing and very left-wing — and pretty popular among everyone in between.

— Romney’s approval rate among “strong Republicans” is actually underwater: Only 40 percent approve of him, while 59 percent disapprove of him.

That is rather amazing.

— But “strong Republicans” really like Lee, 72-19 percent.

Romney’s problem with the reddest of his party is no doubt because he has been critical of Trump, while Lee has mostly stood by the president.

Romney rebounds among those who said they are “not very strong Republicans.” He has a 71-23 percent approval rating among them.

Lee’s approval rating among that GOP group is 59-24 percent.

True political independents give Romney a 44-52 percent approval rating; Lee gets 36-53 percent approval from this group.

The most dramatic difference between them comes among Democrats. Lee is at single digits in approval among independent-leaning Dems, not-very-strong Dems, and strong Dems. By comparison, Romney is at 36 percent, 65 percent(!), and 32 percent among those groups, respectively. Obviously you’d rather have Lee’s coalition in a state as red as Utah than Mitt’s, since Mitt is more susceptible to a primary challenge and wouldn’t win most of those Democratic voters who approve of him right now in a general election. But these numbers do go to show that stalwart support for Trump is no guarantee of overall popularity even in a state as Republican as Utah. In fact, the same poll found that all three Republican members of Utah’s House delegation are *also* underwater in approval while the state’s lone Democrat in the House is in positive territory. That suggests that many voters aren’t thrilled with the GOP’s decision to stand by Trump on impeachment.

Elsewhere today, Tim Miller is urging Senator Delecto to take the final step in his political journey, a step made easier by the rising prospect of him not being reelected in Utah: It’s third-party time. No, no, not a third-party presidential candidacy. A new third party. To change the balance of power in the Senate.

First and foremost, it is electorally viable on a small scale. Mitt himself, thanks to his profile and the unique nature of the electorate in Utah, could survive without succumbing to the partisan poles that most politicians are slaves to. Secondly there are some obvious candidates for existing politicians who could join him to create a real organization. Moderate Republican governors Charlie Baker and Phil Scott from his erstwhile home in New England. Other anti-Trump electeds in Utah. Other Republicans in blue states or Democrats in red states who might need to shed their toxic party brand to survive. And most importantly a few fellow senators who might be interested in making a similar calculation: Namely Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin.

He has a point about GOP governors. Figures like Charlie Baker and Larry Hogan really do seem to belong to a separate party already. It’s not just that they’re moderate GOPers governing very blue states, it’s that they have no presence whatsoever in the right-wing media ecosystem. Surely they and other prominent but now out-of-office figures like John Kasich and Flake would be interested initially in the “Pierre Party,” let’s call it. And Miller’s also right that *if* the Senate shakes out a certain way next fall, even a small bloc of three like Romney, Murkowski, and Manchin could exert outsized influence over the body. If the Senate ends up as 51/49 in favor of the GOP and those three break away, they could effectively choose who the majority leader is, how the Senate operates, and so on.

It’d be almost hallucinatory to have the last 10 years of Republican politics end up with a third party led by Mitt Romney, of all people, brokering power in the Senate. The decade began with a populist righty backlash to ObamaCare that produced the tea party, a movement that wrestled with whether to try to take over the GOP or break away. It lost in 2012 with Romney, who was never a great fit for cultural reasons, but won its greatest victory with Trump, who was never a great fit for ideological reasons and who himself functioned as a sort of independent during the primaries. Under Miller’s plan this would culminate with Romney ceding the GOP to Trumpist forces and breaking away to form his own moderate outfit for centrist Republicans that could conceivably end up roadblocking the populists’ agenda in the Senate. Even the writers of the virtual reality we live in would consider it too far-fetched, I think, but it has an intriguing symmetry. Besides, if you believe today’s poll, Romney may well end up as a one-termer. Might as well make the most of his remaining time!

The post Poll: Pierre Delecto’s approval rating in Utah now underwater at 46/51 appeared first on Hot Air.

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Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine

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Some of the best polling news Trump has received in awhile, and ironically it comes from his friends at the New York Times.

Compounding the irony, some of the worst polling news he’s received this year came last week from … Fox News. Impeachment makes for strange bedfellows.

Some polls, like Fox’s, will tell you that Americans support impeaching and removing the president on balance. That’s noteworthy but the leadership of both parties will pay closer attention to what swing states think for obvious reasons. The Times wanted to know how the Democrats’ impeachment push was doing in the six states most likely to decide the next election — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona. They discovered that voters there do support the impeachment inquiry, by a 50/45 margin.

But when you ask how many are ready to take the fateful next step and remove Trump based on what’s currently known, a small but significant minority of seven percent switches sides. Impeachment/removal polls at just 43/53. Wha’ happened?

The Times’s Nate Cohn dug into the numbers to find out who those seven percent are.

This 7 percent slice of respondents tends to be younger — 33 percent are 18 to 34 — and nearly half are self-identified independents. They could prove tough for Democrats to convince: 51 percent say that the president’s conduct is typical of most politicians, perhaps suggesting that they hold a jaded view of politics that would tend to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against him.

I would not have guessed that some younger adults, a famously left-leaning group, would be more hesitant to remove Trump than others in the contingent that supports an impeachment inquiry. Another interesting bit of data from Cohn:

Westlake Legal Group t-18 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

That trend is also true among Democrats specifically, a group that otherwise favors impeachment and removal overwhelmingly. Among Dems overall, 83 percent want Trump out. But among Dems who are following the Ukraine story “not very closely,” 21 percent oppose impeachment.

Which way does all of that cut for Pelosi? Before you answer, read this NBC piece about how House Democrats are preparing to present their impeachment case to the public. The key words are “abuse of power.”

House Democrats are zeroing in on a framework for their impeachment case against President Donald Trump that will center on a simple “abuse of power” narrative involving the president’s actions regarding Ukraine, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations…

[O]ne person familiar with the strategy said “abuse of power” when it comes to Ukraine is the “big point that Pelosi has been hammering home” and the umbrella under which “this all fits to connect it and help the public understand.”…

Pelosi is also considering a separate article on obstruction or contempt of Congress related to the administration’s blanket rejection of subpoena requests for documents and witnesses related to its inquiry into Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, according to multiple sources involved in the deliberations.

The Ukraine quid pro quo and the White House’s refusal to comply with Democratic demands for evidence will all go under the “abuse of power” heading. Looking again at Cohn’s data, though, I wonder if “abuse of power” might be especially unpersuasive to that stubborn seven percent that’s so jaded about politics that they’re inclined to see Trump’s behavior as business as usual in Washington. Seems to me that that group might logically demand something more — probable cause of an actual federal statutory crime, for instance, or strong evidence that Trump himself was sufficiently aware that the Ukraine business was shady that he took steps to conceal his motives — in order to distinguish what he did from normal Beltway scumbaggery. Think of all the ways the average politician abuses his power, man. Isn’t Pelosi abusing her power when she serves special interests and lobbyists instead of the public?

As others have noted, the sheer cynicism of a political culture capable of electing Trump as a sort of purgative might also be what rescues him from impeachment in the end.

In fact, peek into the crosstabs and you’ll find that a plurality of all Americans agrees that what Trump did was “typical” of politicians, not something extraordinary. How do you sell an “abuse of power” narrative in those circumstances?

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On the other hand, the fact that the people who are following the impeachment saga the least closely right now are also the people who are least likely to support it suggests that there may be room for Democrats to grow their support here. Cohn notes elsewhere that impeachment polling lately has been flat after an initial burst of enthusiasm when the first bombshells about Trump and Ukraine began being reported. But maybe that’s because the news itself has plateaued; right now there’s little to report apart from the secretive questioning of witnesses being conducted by Adam Schiff’s committee. That is, the “not following closely” group has had no compelling reason to start following the story closely over the last weeks. But obviously that will change once the articles of impeachment pass, and it will change in a big, big way once the trial of Donald J. Trump is being held on C-SPAN for hours each day in December. Many more Americans will soon be following the Ukraine matter more closely than they have been, whether they want to or not. What happens to the numbers on removal once they are?

You could turn that question around, though. Instead of assuming that following the story closely is leading people towards support for removing Trump, it may be that preexisting support for removing Trump is leading people to follow the story closely. If you’re a Trump fan, it stands to reason that you wouldn’t be eager to follow the Ukraine story closely to this point. If you’re already predisposed to ignore unflattering news about the president because you like him and think his enemies are out to get him, how likely is your opinion to change after an impeachment trial realistically? We may be looking at the same 43/53 swing-state split two months from now that we’re looking at today.

And look: For impeachment purposes, there’s arguably no difference between 53/43 in favor of removal and 43/53 against. Senate Republicans aren’t going to remove the president based on a margin as slim as that either way. The significance of Cohn’s results is that impeachment may not be much of a club for Democrats in next fall’s election either. At a minimum, what they want from this process is an effective talking point they can use to beat Trump at the polls. “Republicans in the Senate didn’t have the guts to oust the president, but the polls show that swing-state voters disagree with them and fully intend to correct that mistake in November.” Per the Times, swing-state voters do not disagree. If this really does settle as a 43/53 issue in places like Michigan, we may not hear the Democratic nominee hammering impeachment on the trail much next year. In which case, what will Dems have gained from this?

The post Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine appeared first on Hot Air.

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John Kasich: I regret to inform you that I am now pro-impeachment

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It would take a heart of stone to watch Kasich burble about how “difficult” it was for him to come to this conclusion and not laugh.

It’s not that his arguments are faulty. He’s within his rights to have found Mick Mulvaney’s admission yesterday damning. It’s that his entire political brand already depends upon opposing Trump, especially on moral grounds, and yet he persists in the charade that there was some “dark night of the soul” for him in arriving at this position. It’d be like Hannity declaring, after careful thought and lots of prayer, that he must reluctantly conclude that Trump is completely innocent of everything he’s been accused of.

You can almost feel Kasich waiting for CNN’s anchor to congratulate him on his courage. How many times does he have to stress how hard this was for him before Ana Cabrera will farking applaud him already?

Meanwhile, on the far end of the opposite spectrum within the GOP…

“Get over it” is what Mulvaney said yesterday at the podium to people who objected to his spirited defense of a quid pro quo with Ukraine involving military aid and the CrowdStrike server. That was three hours before he put out a statement insisting that he’d never said any such thing and that your lying eyes and ears had deceived you. Looks like the Trump campaign is back to the first position, that there was in fact a quid pro quo and that’s perfectly fine and right. By the end of the year, the crowds at MAGA rallies will be chanting “QUID PRO QUO” as their new cheer. If you’re willing to say it out loud, it can’t be wrong, right?

The post John Kasich: I regret to inform you that I am now pro-impeachment appeared first on Hot Air.

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McConnell warns Republicans: Have a side of impeachment with your Thanksgiving turkey

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Mitch McConnell has one message for his Senate Republican caucus on impeachment: This is no dream — this is really happening!* In fact, the Senate Majority Leader has begun briefing his colleagues on the process of a presidential  impeachment trial and the strategies needed to defend Donald Trump. The Washington Post reports that McConnell envisions the trial taking place as soon as Americans sit down to a turkey dinner:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican senators Wednesday to be ready for an impeachment trial of President Trump as soon as Thanksgiving, as the Senate began to brace for a political maelstrom that would engulf the nation.

An air of inevitability has taken hold in Congress, with the expectation Trump will become the third president in history to be impeached — and Republicans believe they need to prepare to defend the president. While McConnell briefed senators on what would happen during a Senate trial, House GOP leaders convened what they expect will be regular impeachment strategy sessions.

The inevitability of an impeachment trial isn’t a shock. Nancy Pelosi’s alea iacta est declaration last month all but committed her to impeaching Trump. Even though the whistleblower complaint that prompted her call turned out to be less than advertised by Adam Schiff, she’s now stuck with it. To shut down an inquiry now would risk tearing her party apart ahead of the 2020 election, and Pelosi knows it.

Nor is the timeline for impeachment too surprising. The last thing Pelosi needs — well, besides impeachment itself, anyway — is an impeachment and/or trial that takes place in the middle of Democratic primary voting. That’s not just for presidential candidates, but also for incumbents in House districts and Senate candidates in red-to-purple states as well. Thanksgiving might be a little ambitious, especially since Pelosi won’t even hold an authorization vote on the full House floor for an impeachment inquiry, but she will want to hand this off to the Senate before Christmas, anyway.

What might be the most surprising is McConnell’s apparent estimate for the time needed to deal with the trial:

McConnell said the Senate would likely meet six days a week during the trial, lawmakers said.

“There’s sort of a planned expectation that it would be sometime around Thanksgiving, so you’d have basically Thanksgiving to Christmas — which would be wonderful because there’s no deadline in the world like the next break to motivate senators,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said.

Six days a week for four weeks? That’s a much longer trial than McConnell hinted might take place late last month. While speaking to CNBC, the Senate Majority Leader acknowledged that the upper chamber’s rules require a trial in any case of impeachment, but also that “how long you are on it is a different matter[.]” That appeared to suggest that McConnell was considering a quick dismissal motion or perhaps a call to go directly to a verdict vote, dispensing with the rest of the trial — either of which would be allowable under Senate rules.

It now sounds as though McConnell believes Senate Republicans will need to put on a defense of President Trump. That would allow Republicans to seize the narrative back again after House Democrats have controlled it with leaks from their closed hearings, a smart if ethically questionable strategy employed by Schiff. Senate Republicans can demand all of those interviews and publish the full transcripts, identify witnesses, and call even more in rebuttal. Senate Democrats will largely be stuck with the case presented by House Democrats without much room to add to it, since the articles of impeachment will have already been set.

The risk is that the transcripts and the witnesses might not paint a very pretty picture of the president or his administration, even in the full context of the testimony. The media will largely want to reaffirm its earlier reporting based on the selective leaks from House Democrats and may not add much context for their consumers regardless of what Republicans expose. However, unless McConnell and his caucus can expose falsehoods by Trump’s accusers and blatant hypocrisy, Senate Republicans might end up winning a Pyrrhic victory in an extended trial — keeping Trump in office but leaving him mortally wounded politically, and perhaps themselves as well.

If McConnell thinks it’s necessary to run that risk, it says something about what he’s seeing in the House, and what it says is nothing good for the White House.

Note* – I assume everyone understands this reference

The post McConnell warns Republicans: Have a side of impeachment with your Thanksgiving turkey appeared first on Hot Air.

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Report: Romney refusing requests to primary Trump — but could try to bring him down via impeachment

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Superb clickbait from Gabriel Sherman, although not for a moment do I believe there’s a war chest out there of half a billion dollars which establishment Republicans are prepared to immolate in the futile hope of successfully primarying Trump. Especially with Romney as the anti-Trump alternative. He’s beloved in Utah but last I checked he wasn’t popular within the GOP. No doubt he’s less popular today, now that he’s picked up his criticism of the president.

But a story doesn’t need to be true for it to be eminently readable. If you’re a left-winger or a Never Trump righty, rumors of Romney plotting some sort of GOP rebellion against Trump are irresistible fanfic. Whereas if you’re a Trump fan, rumors of Romney plotting some sort of GOP rebellion against Trump are irresistible hate-read material. “The adults in the room are going to finally stop Trump!” “The RINOs are plotting a coup against the president!”

For the record, Romney isn’t going to bring down the Trump presidency during a Senate impeachment trial. They won’t get close to 67 votes to remove. But he might be able to persuade three colleagues to vote that way, which would give the Senate a clear majority in favor. (Unless Joe Manchin gets cold feet, of course.)

“There’s been a real increase in nervousness over the past three or four weeks,” a prominent GOP member told me. “Everybody sees what Trump did as such a clear abuse of power,” said another prominent Republican. “Whether it’s criminal or not is another issue. But it’s so blatantly over the line.”…

In the Senate, Ben Sasse and Susan Collins have made their usual equivocal noises—but not surprisingly, its Mitt Romney, longtime Trump antagonist and sometime suck-up, who’s become the standard-bearer, leading to questions as to what his game is. According to sources, donors have in recent days called the Utah senator and encouraged him to run against Trump in the primary. “There is a half-billion dollars on the sidelines from guys who are fed up with Trump,” a GOP donor told me…

According to people close to Romney, he’s firmly decided against primarying Trump, an enterprise he believes to be a sure loser given Trump’s enduring GOP support. Romney has also told people that, as an unsuccessful two-time presidential candidate, he’s the wrong person to take on Trump. Instead, a Romney adviser told me, Romney believes he has more potential power as a senator who will decide Trump’s fate in an impeachment trial. “He could have tremendous influence in the impeachment process as the lone voice of conscience in the Republican caucus,” the adviser said. In recent days, Romney has been reaching out privately to key players in the Republican resistance, according to a person briefed on the conversations. “Romney is the one guy who could bring along Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Ben Sasse. Romney is the pressure point in the impeachment process. That’s why the things he’s saying are freaking Republicans out.”

Collins, Gardner, and Sasse? They’re all running for reelection next year! Voting with Democrats to remove Trump would lead to them either getting bounced in a primary or shellacked in the general election when pro-Trump Republicans stayed home in protest. If Romney really is targeting people to rebel, he’s better off with someone like Rubio, who’s stayed far away from confronting Trump thus far but who’s also pretty clearly miserable in the Senate and whose presidential prospects are long gone in a post-Trump GOP. He’s not up for reelection until 2022 either so he’d have a little time to either try to repair relations with the party later or to announcement his retirement long before the next primary starts shaping up. Remember, he was prepared to retire in 2016 before he got talked out of it.

If Romney’s looking for more nothing-to-lose votes, he could try fellow Utahn Mike Lee. Lee’s not up until 2022 either and anti-Trump Republicans are safer in Utah than they are in any other red state. Romney could even pledge to campaign for Lee to try to help him save his seat. One more possibility: Richard Burr, the senator from North Carolina who’s spent the duration of Trump’s presidency chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee. Importantly, Burr has said before that this would be his final term in the Senate. He has nothing to lose by crossing Trump, which may help explain why his committee’s investigation of Russiagate was more bipartisan and independent than its counterpart in the House.

Romney, Rubio, Lee, and Burr would mean 51 votes for impeachment, or 50 if Manchin balks. Plus, there’s always Murkowski!

Nah, I’m just kidding. Rubio wouldn’t have the nerve to vote to remove, even if he has little to lose at this point by doing so. Mike Lee circa 2016 would vote to remove but Mike Lee circa 2019 is pretty friendly with Trump and remains on the SCOTUS shortlist. Burr keeps a low profile and seems to like it that way, which makes an earth-shaking vote against Trump seem unlikely. I think Dems might get Romney and Murkowski and that’s probably it barring some explosive new evidence confirming Trump’s hand in a quid pro quo with Ukraine. The “remove” faction won’t even reach 50 votes, especially considering that the “bad but not impeachable” get-out-of-jail-free card is always available.

Exit question: What if the punchline to all this Trump/Romney drama is that Romney ends up voting against removal?

The post Report: Romney refusing requests to primary Trump — but could try to bring him down via impeachment appeared first on Hot Air.

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Mitt Romney Does Mitt Romney Things, Looks to Rally GOP Senators to Remove Trump From Office

Westlake Legal Group AP_18051137142507-620x347 Mitt Romney Does Mitt Romney Things, Looks to Rally GOP Senators to Remove Trump From Office vanity fair Susan Collins running republicans removal Rallying Support Politics Mitt Romney impeachment gop Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story elections Election donors donald trump Convict Ben Sasse 2020

FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 file photo, Donald Trump greets Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, after announcing his endorsement of Romney during a news conference in Las Vegas. Trump is endorsing Romney in Utah’s Senate race, another sign that the two Republicans are burying the hatchet after a fraught relationship. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

Mitt Romney, who seemingly only has the ability to speak out against Donald Trump, has spent the last few weeks virtue signaling his pants off over the Ukraine issue. While he can never be counted on to condemn Democrats for basically anything, he’s always there with a tweet on Trump to soak up those CNN backslaps. I’m told that’s the ultimate act of courage.

His plan may go deeper than gathering plaudits though. A new report says he’s rallying Republican Senators to remove the President from office, assuming the House every stops being terrified of voting to actually impeach.

There’s two parts to this. Let’s start with GOP donors begging Romney to run.

According to sources, donors have in recent days called the Utah senator and encouraged him to run against Trump in the primary. “There is a half-billion dollars on the sidelines from guys who are fed up with Trump,” a GOP donor told me.

I’m going to put aside everything I think about or don’t think about Trump for a second. Let’s pretend he doesn’t exist. How can any GOP donor be so idiotic as to not recognize that the party simply does not want another Mitt Romney run, nor a run by someone like him? Even if you despise Trump, Romney is not the alternative. You want to rally the base around Trump? Start pushing Romney to the forefront.

In that sense, it’s probably smart for him to not run directly against Trump. Instead, he’s doing the underhanded thing by trying to get him removed from office to clear a path.

Instead, a Romney adviser told me, Romney believes he has more potential power as a senator who will decide Trump’s fate in an impeachment trial. “He could have tremendous influence in the impeachment process as the lone voice of conscience in the Republican caucus,” the adviser said. In recent days, Romney has been reaching out privately to key players in the Republican resistance, according to a person briefed on the conversations. “Romney is the one guy who could bring along Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, Ben Sasse. Romney is the pressure point in the impeachment process. That’s why the things he’s saying are freaking Republicans out.”

That highlighted sentence is the most Mitt Romney thing ever. Voters are sick of pompous cowards who only speak up when they think it will benefit them politically. Romney was nowhere to be found when Adam Schiff lied about contact with the whistle-blower. He completely lost his tongue on any matter dealing with the Trump-Russia investigation, the collapse of the Steele dossier, the lies about collusion, etc. When Obama did any number of things that were objectionable to conservatives during his tenure, Romney got lost in the woods.

But he sees an opening here with Trump that could help him politically, so he’s ready to speak up again. That’s not courage and it makes him the worst kind of Republican. It’s exactly why he’s never going to be a thing again.

As to him rallying Senators like Collins, Gardner, and Sasse, I’m skeptical. No doubt he will try, because again, he sees that as a path to 2020. But the only way any GOP Senators aside from Romney (and maybe Collins) vote to remove Trump is if they feel like it’s 100% safe in doing so. If they vote and it fails, they are finished in the party and they know it. That means Romney would need to gather another dozen plus votes from his own side and hold them all together over time. That’s just so unlikely as to be nearly impossible.

What we currently have is behavior by the President that we can argue back and forth on all day. Was it bad? Was it just turnabout being fair play given what Obama did investigating Trump? Was he actually just wanting a broad look at the 2016 election meddling, of which I’ve been assured by Mitt Romney is very important to get to the bottom of. I’m not here to convince you one way or the other. What I do believe is that there’s nothing impeachable here. There was no quid pro quo. We have the transcript and we know what it says and doesn’t say. Even the “smoking gun” text by Bill Taylor turned out to be based on a Politico article full of supposition, not actual direct knowledge.

In the absence of an actual, traditionally impeachable offense, Mitt Romney is just playing games again and noway should any Republican voter reward him for it. Any GOP donor or insider that thinks he’s making a comeback is deluding themselves and should probably come to their senses sooner rather than later.

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The post Mitt Romney Does Mitt Romney Things, Looks to Rally GOP Senators to Remove Trump From Office appeared first on RedState.

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Lindsey Graham: “We’re not going to try the president of the United States based on hearsay”

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A leftover from yesterday, the gaslighting quotient of which is high even by the usual Trump/Graham standards. I’ve listened to this chattering about hearsay and the whistleblower complaint for a week with increasing mystification about what it’s supposed to prove.

Hearsay isn’t taboo at the investigation stage of a crime (or political crime, in the case of impeachment), nor should it be. Imagine if someone walked into the local police precinct and reported that he’d overheard two co-workers plotting a murder. What should the cops do with that information? Ignore it on grounds that it’s hearsay or chat with the informant to see if he seems credible and, if he does, investigate further?

Imagine that the police are stumped in trying to solve a murder and decide to launch a tip hotline in hopes that a member of the public knows something. Most of the tips that come in will go nowhere either because they’re in earnest but based on mistaken information or because they’re fabricated out-and-out. Some will involve hearsay. Should the police follow up on those leads anyway?

What the whistleblower did in filing his complaint is nothing more or less than a tip. The “police” in this case are the inspector general (ICIG) who received the complaint and took a preliminary look to see if the tip seemed credible and House Democrats, who now have to try to flesh out the claims in the complaint with hard evidence and witness testimony. That’s why subpoenas are suddenly flying for the likes of Mike Pompeo and Rudy Giuliani. Of course Senate Republicans aren’t going to vote to remove Trump if all Democrats present to them is the bare allegations contained in the whistleblower complaint. That’d be like trying to convict someone at a criminal trial with stuff that came in on the tip line. That’s why we have a hearsay rule in the first place — because, at trial, when someone’s liberty (or office, in the impeachment context) is on the line, we want the jury to make its decision based on reliable information. It would be a political gift to Republicans if House Democrats impeached Trump based on nothing more than hearsay; then the Senate GOP could quickly vote to acquit the president, laughing the whole way at how shoddy the Democrats’ case is. Which would be appropriate, since the Senate is the “jury” in the impeachment process.

But before the jury phase? Let the cops run down every lead they have. Especially when a lead comes from someone whom they’ve deemed credible.

Relatedly, take a few minutes to read this statement issued by the ICIG tonight responding to a claim made by righties and echoed by Trump himself that the rules for whistleblowers were recently and suspiciously changed. Supposedly, until just last month, whistleblowers could only file a complaint based on firsthand information; the form for filing a complaint was allegedly changed in the nick of time to allow complaints based on secondhand information, a seemingly too-convenient switch that allowed the Ukraine whistleblower to get his claims about Trump sent up the chain of command.

But it’s not true, says the ICIG.

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The key point has to do with the statute. The law itself has never required firsthand information to file a complaint and the law is the only thing that matters. Again, analogize to a tip line: Why would the police ever insist that a tip be based on firsthand rather than secondhand information instead of simply welcoming all tips from the public and weighing the credibility of each individually? That’s exactly what the ICIG did in conducting a preliminary investigation to see if the whistleblower/tipster seemed credible or not. Read his full statement and you’ll see, as Gabe Malor explains, that the firsthand/secondhand distinction only matters in forming that initial conclusion about credibility. Firsthand information will be deemed *more* credible than secondhand but there’s no legal requirement that the info in the complaint all be firsthand. (And some of it was firsthand, the ICIG notes.) The “cop” here looked at everything in assessing whether a tip deserved some follow-up. What else should he do?

On top of all that, there’s an actual quasi-transcript of Trump’s conversation with Zelensky that the president himself released. That’s the key piece of evidence in the case against him; some Democrats will tell you that he can and should be impeached based on what’s in that transcript even if there’s no further evidence found supporting a quid pro quo involving Ukraine’s military aid. The transcript also substantially corroborates some of the claims in the whistleblower complaint about what Trump allegedly said to Zelensky. In which case: What the hell is Graham doing prattling on about hearsay? He should worry less about that and more about his buddy’s own admission against interest in the form of that transcript.

One more point about hearsay. If you happen to know a lawyer, ask him or her whether there are any exceptions to the hearsay rule at trial. They’ll probably look at you funny and sigh wearily before launching into their explanation. That’s because there are lots of exceptions — lots-lots — and a good chunk of law-school classes on evidence is devoted to them. That is, even if some hearsay evidence is offered to the Senate, there’s a reasonably good chance that it’ll be admissible anyway. Graham is a well-trained lawyer and knows that, of course, but he’s also a BS artist spinning desperately for his friend here and hoping to confuse viewers. If he repeats “it’s hearsay!” often enough, maybe Republican viewers will start repeating it too and using it as an excuse not to pay attention to the Ukraine matter any further. It’s hearsay! Case closed!

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Pelosi: Can you believe that the rubes think impeachment is removal?

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Is the only obstacle to impeachment for Nancy Pelosi the ignorance of the American public? The Democratic argument on “educating” voters on the need to impeach Donald Trump is already condescending enough, but … hoo boy. In her daily briefing with reporters, Pelosi declares her mystification as to how people can confuse impeachment with removal, and lets her elitist flag fly while doing so:

First of all, I travel all the time in the country. Do you know what most people think — that impeachment means you’re out of office? Did you ever get that feeling, or are you just in the bubble here? They think that you get impeached, you’re gone, and that is completely not true. And I may have thought that myself fifty years ago.

But you get impeached, and it’s an indictment. It’s an indictment. So when you’re impeaching someone, you want to make sure you have the strongest possible indictment. Because it’s not the means to the end that people think. “All you do — vote to impeach — bye bye birdie.” [Laughs] It isn’t that. It’s an indictment, so you want to have the best possible indictment, going through, ah, the legal process, in a way that shows accommodation, that we need the courts to rule in our favor because we’ve done it correctly, and the rest.

So it is, ah, it is the business of the committees to do that, and when they decide how their accommodations and their conversations are going, then we respect that.

The last half of this argument is all but incoherent. Technically speaking, the courts have no role in impeachment. If the House wants to impeach, it can do so on its own, regardless of whether people respond to subpoenas. In this case especially, Congress has the results of an outside investigation that has already done all of this work. It didn’t provide anywhere near a politically prima facie case for impeachment, which is why the committees are trying to redo the Robert Mueller investigation on their own, but the courts have no role to play in the impeachment process.

The first part of Pelosi’s argument is arrogant beyond belief, and at least as disingenuous. Thanks to the shared national experience of 1998, most people are painfully aware that impeachment and removal are two different processes. News coverage of this fight continually references the unlikelihood of the latter with Republicans controlling the Senate. There may be a few people outside of Pelosi’s enlightened “bubble” of Beltway denizens and journalists who confuse the two, but I’d wager it’s not many — and it’s not important anyway.

The most disingenuous part of this argument is Pelosi’s implication that impeachment is completely separate from removal. That’s as asinine an argument as anyone’s likely to make. The sole purpose of impeachment in the House is to push for removal from office by the Senate. It has no other constitutional consequence, no other outcome other than removal or non-removal by acquittal. If the House wants to just paint Trump with a black mark on his record, Pelosi could choose to censure him, which also has no real consequence but doesn’t attempt to undo an election.

Voters understand exactly what Democrats pushing impeachment want. That’s why Pelosi’s hands are tied, and why she’s lashing out at them today.

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Rashida Tlaib: I hold in my hand 10 million signatures in favor of impeaching Trump

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Hillary got 65 million votes three years ago, so congrats to progressives on getting the left-most 15 percent or so of her base to affirm once again, in writing this time, that they are very much onboard with impeaching the president.

As if to underline that the urge to impeach has less to do with obstruction of justice or stonewalling congressional subpoenas than with general contempt for Trump, it was Rashida Tlaib who formally accepted the signatures today from lefty groups. Tlaib distinguished herself on her first day in Congress by vowing to “impeach the motherf***er,” months before Mueller’s findings were in or House committees had begun their investigations. The specific grounds, in other words, irrelevant. This is Resistance theater, with impeachment the ultimate form of resistance.

And to the extent that anyone in Washington was intimidated by this, it wasn’t Trump. The White House sounds very comfortable with the idea of an impeachment push in the House, after all:

As the White House and Congress escalate their constitutional showdown, President Trump and his team are essentially trying to call what they see as the Democrats’ bluff. The message: Put up or shut up. Impeach or move on.

Confident that there are not enough votes to remove him from office through an impeachment trial in the Senate, Mr. Trump and his advisers have chosen the path of maximum resistance, calculating that they can put the Democrats on the defensive in a fight that is politically useful for the president…

“He’s feeling that, except for a couple of these people, that most people are ready to move on,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding that Democrats could lose 30 to 40 seats in the House if they try to impeach Mr. Trump. “Part of the strategy is to flush them out, and part of it is also a calculation that the public really isn’t particularly interested in this anymore and that they’re going to look bad by fighting it.”

Trump doesn’t care about Tlaib’s latest reminder that the country’s most progressive voters loathe him and want him out ASAP. Pelosi might care. She seems more wary of impeachment than the president does and lefties are starting to notice. Michelle Goldberg’s piece in the Times today makes me think I was right yesterday in suspecting that House Dems’ windbaggery about a “constitutional crisis” will backfire on them, inciting the left instead of placating them by offering a subpoena fight in court in lieu of an impeachment battle. Goldberg:

Pelosi is a sharp and pragmatic woman, and her evident belief that impeachment carries strategic risks for Democrats should be taken seriously. But it is incoherent to argue that Trump constitutes an existential threat to the Constitution, and that Congress should wait to use the Constitution’s primary defense against such a threat. Democratic fear of divisiveness — even as Republicans gleefully embrace it — is leading to unilateral political disarmament…

In the face of an administration that is trying to amass dictatorial powers, Democrats need to bring to bear all the powers of their own. Trump’s outright rejection of congressional authority makes impeachment proceedings necessary, but even impeachment alone is not sufficient.

She ends up endorsing “inherent contempt,” i.e. Congress’s power to jail officials who don’t comply with subpoenas. Congrats to Pelosi and Nadler on trying to ease the pressure on them to impeach by maneuvering lefties into now believing that nothing short of impeachment plus imprisonment for the bad guys will do.

Support for impeachment is up modestly this month according to Reuters, rising five points to 45 percent, but (a) other recent polls have it much lower and (b) nothing short of strong majority approval’s going to reassure Pelosi that this won’t backfire electorally. Even if impeachment rose tomorrow to 60 percent, she’d probably cite that as all the more reason to skip impeachment and let voters deal with Trump next fall. “If 60 percent want him out, why not make sure he’s the GOP nominee next year by leaving him in place? We might not be able to beat Pence as easily as we’ll beat Trump!”

For now, though, she has the right *and* left hooting at her that she doesn’t have the guts to impeach. Better figure out a solution. That can’t go on for 18 months.

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Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor: It’s time to start on impeachment

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She’s been hinting at impeachment for months, long before Mueller finished his investigation and then more insistently on Twitter after his report was published. Today’s the first time she’s made the case in a format as visible as the Senate, though, which strikes me as smart politics. Support for impeachment may have collapsed among the general public but it’s still a winner with Democrats, particularly the party’s left wing — which of course is the wing Warren is courting. She’s been moving up on Bernie Sanders in polling lately thanks to her “I got a plan” shtick, even placing ahead of him in one survey. A cri de coeur about ousting Trump can only help her rise further once it start circulating among progressives, especially if it makes her the de facto leader in Congress of the “Trump must go” push.

If nothing else, it diversifies her image. Until now she’s been known as the wonk’s wonk, the “cerebral” candidate who plays to your head rather than your heart. Today she’s going for the gut. This is her showing progressives that “she fights!”

Whether or not she’s right that the obstruction evidence detailed by Mueller justifies impeachment, I think she’s right that Mueller intended the report’s obstruction section as a referral to Congress. The intro to that section emphasized that (1) there’s too much evidence to clear Trump but also (2) it’d be unfair to accuse him of a crime in light of the DOJ’s policy that a sitting president can’t be indicted and therefore wouldn’t be allowed to formally answer the accusation in court. If Mueller can’t deny that there’s probable cause to believe Trump obstructed justice but also can’t haul him into court then logically the matter should be referred to the one tribunal which the president does constitutionally have to answer to, Congress. They don’t have to accept the referral, of course; Pelosi could shrug and say, “Meh, voters will remove him next November,” and that’s the end of that. (A Twitter pal noted last night how odd it is that she prefers to let the electorate reckon with Trump despite also believing that Trump might ignore the will of the electorate.) But I think Warren’s claim that Mueller wanted Congress to look seriously at this holds water.

It’d be nice if he interrupted his busy schedule of being retired to sit down before a House committee and give us a straight yes or no on that, right? And maybe answer this question too: Did he want Bill Barr to issue a verdict on whether Trump obstructed justice in his summary of Mueller’s report or was Mueller hoping to have official silence from the DOJ on that point? Lefties have spent a lot of time whining about Barr’s summary, most of which is hard to stomach given that we had nearly the entire report before us within weeks. But there’s some truth to the idea that Barr’s “NO OBSTRUCTION” takeaway has made it harder politically for Democrats to impeach Trump than if Barr had remained silent and the initial takeaway was instead “MUELLER CAN’T CLEAR TRUMP OF OBSTRUCTION.”

Harder, but probably not much harder. As I’ve said before in writing about the post-Mueller polling, I think collusion was the whole ballgame on the question of impeachment. If Mueller didn’t have Trump and Putin scheming to rig the election then Democrats weren’t going to get anywhere close to a majority in favor of impeachment. At the end of the day, Americans aren’t going to countenance trying to remove a sitting president for obstructing a probe that *didn’t accuse him of an underlying crime.*

Two clips of Warren doing her “she fights!” things here. Exit question: Would impeachment really be a political disaster for Democrats? A heavy majority of the public opposes it, but if Dems did it soon and the Senate quickly ran through a trial finding Trump not guilty, they’d have appeased their base and the backlash among Trump fans probably would die down before the big vote next November.

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