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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 107)

Giuliani Provides Details of What Trump Knew About Ambassador’s Removal

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-giuliani1-facebookJumbo Giuliani Provides Details of What Trump Knew About Ambassador’s Removal Yovanovitch, Marie L United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department impeachment Giuliani, Rudolph W

WASHINGTON — Rudolph W. Giuliani said on Monday that he provided President Trump with detailed information this year about how the United States ambassador to Ukraine was, in Mr. Giuliani’s view, impeding investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump, setting in motion the ambassador’s recall from her post.

In an interview, Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, described how he passed along to Mr. Trump “a couple of times” accounts about how the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, had frustrated efforts that could be politically helpful to Mr. Trump. They included investigations involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukrainians who disseminated documents that damaged Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The president in turn connected Mr. Giuliani with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who asked for more information, Mr. Giuliani said. Within weeks, Ms. Yovanovitch was recalled as ambassador at the end of April and was told that Mr. Trump had lost trust in her.

The circumstances of Ms. Yovanovitch’s ouster after a smear campaign engineered in part by Mr. Giuliani were documented during testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, where she was a key witness in impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump. Mr. Giuliani has made no secret of his role in flagging concerns about Ms. Yovanovitch to Mr. Trump.

But Mr. Giuliani’s account, in an interview with The New York Times on Monday evening, provided additional detail about the president’s knowledge of and involvement in one element of a pressure campaign against Ukraine.

Mr. Giuliani’s interview came as the House prepared for a vote on Wednesday to impeach Mr. Trump. The articles of impeachment put forward by Democrats accuse the president of abusing the power of his office to push Ukraine to help him politically and of obstructing Congress by blocking testimony from key officials. Over several weeks of testimony, Democrats assembled a case that Mr. Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine and denied its president an Oval Office meeting as he sought a commitment from the Ukrainians for the investigations promoted by Mr. Giuliani.

In conversations in the first months of the year with the president, Mr. Giuliani, by his account, cast Ms. Yovanovitch as impeding not only investigations in Ukraine that could benefit Mr. Trump, but also Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to gather evidence to defend him — and target his rivals — in the United States.

“There’s a lot of reasons to move her,” Mr. Giuliani said, asserting that his briefings of Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo most likely played a role in their decision to recall Ms. Yovanovitch.

“I think my information did,” he said. “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them. But they relied on it.”

He added, “I just gave them the facts. I mean, did I think she should be recalled? I thought she should have been fired. If I was attorney general, I would have kicked her out. I mean — secretary of state.”

Testimony in the impeachment proceedings as well as other information have shown that Mr. Giuliani’s claims about Ms. Yovanovitch were either unsubstantiated or were taken out of context. In the interview, he portrayed himself as personally involved in the effort to derail a career diplomat around the time he was considering business arrangements with some of the Ukrainians funneling information to him.

Mr. Giuliani told the president and Mr. Pompeo that Ms. Yovanovitch was blocking visas for Ukrainian prosecutors to come to the United States to present evidence to him — and also to federal authorities — that he claimed could be damaging to Mr. Biden and his son Hunter Biden, and to Ukrainians who distributed documents that led to the resignation of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

Mr. Giuliani also claimed, based on his own interviews with those prosecutors, that Ms. Yovanovitch had sought to block investigations in Ukraine. And he relayed vague claims that she had been bad-mouthing the president.

“I think I had pointed out to the president a couple of times, I reported to the president, what I had learned about the visa denials,” Mr. Giuliani said, as well as the claims that she ordered one Ukrainian prosecutor to drop cases. “I may or may not have passed along the general gossip that the embassy was considered to be a kind of out-of-control politically partisan embassy, but that was, like, general gossip, I didn’t report that as fact.”

Mr. Giuliani had told The New Yorker in an article published on Monday that he needed Ms. Yovanovitch “out of the way,” and that she “was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”

Ms. Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran of the Foreign Service, testified in the impeachment proceedings that Mr. Giuliani helped lead a smear campaign against her based on what she described as scurrilous lies, and she described the State Department as capitulating to the president’s demands to recall her.

There is no evidence that she had disparaged Mr. Trump, nor that she had issued a do-not-prosecute list, as one of Mr. Giuliani’s prosecutor sources once claimed.

But, by Mr. Giuliani’s account on Monday, the information he was spreading about her seemed to find a receptive audience at the highest reaches of the United States government and led Mr. Trump to involve Mr. Pompeo.

Mr. Giuliani told The Times that after he briefed Mr. Trump on the claims, the president said “either ‘discuss it with Mike’ or ‘turn it over to Mike.’” Mr. Giuliani said he could not recall “if he had me call him, or him call me — but he put us together so that Pompeo could evaluate it.”

Mr. Giuliani’s account of the phone calls with Mr. Pompeo seems to be corroborated by emails released by the State Department to a liberal watchdog group that had filed a public records lawsuit. The emails reflect at least two telephone calls between the men in late March, including one that was arranged with guidance from Mr. Trump’s personal assistant.

Mr. Giuliani said that Mr. Pompeo asked him whether he had anything in writing, so Mr. Giuliani sent a timeline listing events related to some of the claims about Ms. Yovanovitch, the Bidens’ work in Ukraine and other matters.

Mr. Pompeo subsequently requested more detailed information, Mr. Giuliani said, so he had someone hand deliver to Mr. Pompeo’s office an envelope containing a series of memos detailing claims made by a pair of Ukrainian prosecutors in interviews conducted by Mr. Giuliani and his associates in January. The existence of those memos has been previously reported, as has Mr. Giuliani’s hope that Mr. Pompeo would pass them along to State Department investigators and the F.B.I. as a way of prompting an investigation in the United States that could benefit Mr. Trump.

“What I thought was, a really smart guy and he’s going to see what else is involved,” Mr. Giuliani said, referring to Mr. Pompeo. “And then he’ll be the one referring it to the F.B.I. And maybe they’ll take it from him and also it won’t look like I’m pushing the F.B.I. to do it.”

One of the interviews detailed in a memo sent to Mr. Pompeo was conducted by phone with Viktor Shokin, a former Ukrainian prosecutor who was denied a visa by the State Department. He was denied the visa because he was seen as having wasted American assistance money that had been allocated to his office for anti-corruption programs, according to testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Shokin “wanted to come to the United States to share information suggesting that there was corruption at the U.S. Embassy,” testified George P. Kent, a State Department official. “Knowing Mr. Shokin, I had full faith that it was bunch of hooey, and he was looking to basically engage in a con-game out of revenge because he’d lost his job.”

Another Ukrainian prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, had traveled to New York to be interviewed by Mr. Giuliani for hours over two days in January, and information he relayed was included in memos sent to Mr. Pompeo.

Mr. Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine have come under scrutiny from federal prosecutors examining whether he violated laws requiring Americans to publicly disclose when they lobby government officials or communicate with journalists on behalf of foreign political interests.

Yet Mr. Giuliani traveled to Europe this month, as first reported by The Times, to meet with some of those same Ukrainian prosecutors to continue gathering information to try to undercut the impeachment case, including through a series of programs on a conservative cable network.

Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Giuliani will submit a report of his findings to Attorney General William P. Barr and Congress.

Mr. Giuliani has shared some information gathered on the trip with Mr. Trump — but “not too much” — the president told reporters on Monday. He added that Mr. Giuliani “knows what he is doing.”

Mr. Giuliani would not comment on any conversations with Mr. Trump about the report from his most recent trip. He said he has not spoken with Mr. Barr about it. He has spoken to “several” members of Congress about his findings, he said, but he would not identify them, explaining, “It’s all very confidential.”

Christopher Cameron contributed reporting.

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The Tax Break for Children, Except the Ones Who Need It Most

Westlake Legal Group merlin_164474682_993adbba-f8fc-4bec-b869-ee4885e20c1e-facebookJumbo The Tax Break for Children, Except the Ones Who Need It Most United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions Poverty National Academy of Sciences Louisiana Federal Taxes (US) Children and Childhood Bennet, Michael Farrand

MONROE, La. — With two children and a third on the way, Ciera Dismuke worked five jobs last year while earning just under $15,000. Although the Trump administration often boasts that it doubled the federal child tax credit to $2,000 per child, Ms. Dismuke, like millions of Americans, earned too little to fully qualify. Instead, she got $934 a child, an increase of just $75.

Letha Bradford, a teacher’s aide, qualified for an equally small increase, despite a household budget so tight that she listens to her son’s high school football games outside the stadium to save the admissions fee. Michael Spielberg, a Sam’s Club attendant, also received only a partial credit, while his son, Josh, who has Asperger’s syndrome, doubled up on classes, hoping to graduate early and turn his job bagging groceries into full-time work.

“Food has been a bit of a struggle,” said Josh, 16.

The 2017 tax bill, President Trump’s main domestic achievement, doubled the maximum credit in the two-decade-old program and extended it to families earning as much as $400,000 a year (up from $110,000). The credit now costs the federal government $127 billion a year — far more than better-known programs like the earned-income tax credit ($65 billion) and food stamps ($60 billion).

But children with the greatest economic needs are least likely to benefit.

While Republicans say the increase shows concern for ordinary families, 35 percent of children fail to receive the full $2,000 because their parents earn too little, researchers at Columbia University found. A quarter get a partial sum and 10 percent get nothing. Among those excluded from the full credit are half of Latinos, 53 percent of blacks and 70 percent of children with single mothers.

“The child tax credit is the largest federal expenditure for children, but it excludes from the full benefit the kids who need it the most,” said Sophie Collyer, a member of the research team at Columbia, who analyzed the program with her colleagues Christopher Wimer and David Harris. “This is a significant flaw in its design that’s at odds with the administration’s claims about the achievements of the tax bill.”

Because the credit rises with earnings, a single parent with two children has to earn more than $30,000 a year to collect the full amount.

Republicans say that the credit is mostly a tax cut, not an anti-poverty program — so rightly favors taxpayers — and that the needy have other sources of aid. But a majority of congressional Democrats have backed a bill to increase the credit and include both the working and nonworking poor, essentially creating a guaranteed income for families with children.

Many rich countries have similar child allowances and less child poverty. But opponents call the idea welfare and warn it will discourage work and responsibility.

Rarely has a program grown so rapidly with such little public notice. While it began in 1997 almost entirely as a tax cut, it is already an anti-poverty program: About 30 percent of its value now goes to “refundable” credits — partial cash awards — for families with no income-tax liability.

Championed by Newt Gingrich and expanded by Barack Obama, the credit has a history of bipartisan support. But the attempt by Democrats to remove the earnings test is a shift for a party that since the Clinton administration has been wary of the welfare label and reflects concerns over stagnant wages, as well as new research showing that even modest amounts of extra cash can have lifelong benefits for children.

By enriching the credit and including the affluent, the Trump expansion itself has brought attention to the poor children it excludes. While the 2017 law made millions of upper-income families eligible for the $2,000 credit (in part to offset the loss of other tax benefits), it gave a boost of just $75 to most full-time workers at the minimum wage.

“It left out 26 million kids” from the full sum, said Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat who has helped write a bill to raise the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for those under 6) and pay a portion monthly. “It’s critical that we don’t leave it as a half measure. Our entire conception of ourselves as a land of opportunity is diminished by the fact that our child poverty rates are as high as they are.”

The limits of the credit’s reach can be seen in Monroe, a sleepy commercial crossroads 100 miles or more from surrounding cities, where pay is low and workers looking to advance often travel for oil-field jobs or check the want ads in Texas.

Monroe is in Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District, one of 37 districts in 22 states where half the children or more have parents too poor to get the full credit, according to Ms. Collyer of Columbia. In the New York 15th (the Bronx), the share is 68 percent. In the Texas 34th (Brownsville to the outskirts of San Antonio), it is 61 percent.

In the Louisiana Fifth, 54 percent of children are too poor to receive the full $2,000. Among those with a partial benefit, the average is $1,008.

Many low-income families do not realize they receive the complicated benefit, which is often confused with the earned-income tax credit. Until she showed a reporter her tax return, Ms. Dismuke did not know she had gotten $934 per child. Told that affluent families get much more, she said, “That is not right — I’m quite sure they don’t need it.”

But Christina McKeigan, a divorced mother of three eligible for about half the maximum credit, said it made sense for richer families to get more. “They probably pay more in taxes,” she said. She earned $23,000 last year and stretched her budget with apps for discount grocery stores and recipes for cheesy chicken spaghetti. “I can do a lot with the amount I get.”

Scholars have long debated whether giving needy families cash raises their children’s prospects, especially if there are other problems like depression or domestic violence. But many cite growing evidence that money alone does in fact help.

The National Academy of Sciences, a group created to convey the scholarly consensus, recently concluded that raising incomes of poor families has “been shown to improve child well-being.” Reviewing dozens of studies, it found child benefits as varied as better test scores and graduation rates, less drug use, and higher earnings and employment as adults.

While findings vary, “the weight of the evidence shows additional resources help the kids,” said Greg Duncan, an economist at the University of California-Irvine who led the study.

Giving the full $2,000 credit to poor families would cut child poverty rates by 26 percent, the academy found.

At least 17 wealthy countries provide a child allowance, including Australia, Ireland and Britain. After a 2016 Canadian expansion offered up to $6,400 per child, the country’s child poverty rate fell by a third.

Money helps children in part because of what it can buy — more goods (cheesy chicken spaghetti) and services (gymnastics classes or tutors). Ms. Bradford, the teacher’s aide, is so eager to invest in her sons that she has used tax refunds to send them on Boy Scout trips to 42 states — even when a flood left them living in her car. “I’m trying to instill in them that it’s education that gives you knowledge and power, not cars or clothes,” she said.

Before traveling to Washington and visiting the Vietnam Memorial, the boys — Tony, 17, and Micah, 13 — wrote a report on a Monroe man killed in the war, which the public library added to its collection. Finding the soldier’s name on the wall, Micah said, “felt like touching history.”

Money also helps children by relieving stress, which can reach toxic levels in poor families. Earning just $16,000 despite 15 years in the public schools, Ms. Bradford is an accomplished penny-pincher. Still, food often runs short, and the power company recently shut off the lights, leaving Ms. Bradford so upset that the boys could not focus in school.

“Sometimes the look in her eye, it’s like she’s sick — but she’s not sick, she’s just stressed,” Tony said. “It makes me feel the exact same way.”

Micah said his teacher scolded him for acting distracted, but “all I could think about is how is my Mama going to pay this bill?”

Most needy families get other benefits, often at considerable taxpayer expense. Between food stamps, the earned-income tax credit and the child tax credit, Ms. Bradford receives about $10,000, plus Medicaid for herself and her sons. Mr. Spielberg gets Medicaid, subsidized housing and food stamps.

As recently as last week, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, tweeted that the expanded credit shows that “we are fighting each and every day for hard-working American families.”

But the 2017 law mostly cut corporate taxes, and the Senate rejected an attempt by two Republicans, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah, to slightly reduce the corporate cuts to finance a larger credit for the poor. It would have given Ms. Bradford a gain of $450, rather than $75.

Of the $73 billion of increased spending on the credit, 39 percent went to families in the top quintile and 2 percent to those at the bottom, according to Elaine Maag of the bipartisan Tax Policy Center.

Robert Rector of the conservative Heritage Foundation warns that a universal child allowance would promote dependency and discourage work. “It’s classic, traditional welfare,” he said. “If there was anything we learned from the welfare debate in the 1990s, it was that having a single mom at home with a child and no job is not a good idea.”

But some on the right argue that an allowance promotes work and family. “The problem with the old welfare system wasn’t that it gave money to single mothers, but that it clawed it back, dollar for dollar, when they went to work,” said Samuel Hammond of the libertarian Niskanen Center. “There’s no reason to think that a flat allowance would have the same effect.”

From liberals like Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California to conservatives like Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a majority of Democrats in both houses favor a broad allowance, as do at least seven of the party’s presidential candidates, suggesting the push is likely to continue. Democrats have been pushing for an expansion of the credit as part of a year-end tax deal.

To understand how poverty limits children, consider Josh Spielberg, whose Asperger’s syndrome would present challenges even if his family had money. “Social interaction is a little different for me — like I don’t understand jokes,” he said, sitting through an interview while solving Rubik’s Cubes. After he made his first friend last year — a “very good kid, sweet kid” — the friend killed himself.

While affluent students who share his goal of attending a good college often spend junior year prepping for tests, Josh took an after-school job at $7.50 an hour and is accelerating classes to graduate early and work full time. The extra load has been “a bit of a struggle,” he said, and may hurt his grades, but “I was tired of seeing my family not being able to get the things they needed and deserved.”

Asked what money could buy, his father said he wished Josh had an ACT tutor — though even without studying he beat the statewide average. For Josh, who is 6-foot-3 with a teenager’s appetite, the appeal of his paycheck is more basic.

“To be honest, it’s eating,” he said. “I treat myself to more expensive food. Like at Taco Bell, I’ll upgrade to the chicken instead of the beef.”

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Moderate Democrats Line Up Behind Impeachment as House Prepares to Vote

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-impeach-facebookJumbo Moderate Democrats Line Up Behind Impeachment as House Prepares to Vote Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Elections, House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers representing conservative-leaning districts announced one by one on Monday that they would cast votes this week to impeach President Trump, signaling that a critical bloc of the most politically vulnerable Democrats is pulling together behind the party’s effort to seek his removal from office.

Two days ahead of a historic vote on two articles of impeachment, about a half-dozen first-term Democrats in districts that Mr. Trump won in 2016 — all impeachment skeptics — said they had become convinced that they had no choice but to move forward with official charges of high crimes and misdemeanors against the president.

The House is all but certain to pass two articles of impeachment, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, against Mr. Trump on Wednesday on a mostly party-line vote, making him the third president in history to be impeached.

In comments to constituents, interviews and opinion pieces, and statements issued by their offices on Monday, the moderate Democrats said they were embracing impeachment fully aware that their decision could cost them their congressional careers.

“What the president did was wrong,” said Representative Ben McAdams of Utah, whose district skews Republican by 13 percentage points. “His actions warrant accountability. I cannot turn a blind eye, thereby condoning this president and future presidents, Republican or Democrat, to do the same.”

“I will vote yes, knowing full well the Senate will likely acquit the president in a display of partisan theater that Republicans and Democrats perform disturbingly well,” Mr. McAdams added in a statement that criticized how members of both parties have handled the impeachment debate.

Mr. McAdams and more than two dozen other moderate Democrats were at the forefront of the political wave that swept their party into the House majority in 2018 and gave the gavel to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who herself was an impeachment skeptic until charges emerged this fall that Mr. Trump had pressured Ukraine to help him in the 2020 election.

The allegation that the president abused his power to exact political favors from Ukraine, withholding as leverage nearly $400 million in vital military aid and a White House meeting, changed the landscape for many centrists. And on Monday, they said the results of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation confirming the charges ultimately changed their minds.

They described their decisions as driven by the Constitution and by history, not by politics.

Representative Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, who represents a district where Republicans have a 10-point advantage, said Republicans had offered no convincing evidence to exonerate Mr. Trump, adding, “This is simply about the rule of law.”

“If I wanted to do what was easy politically, I would just vote no and move on,” Mr. Cunningham told his hometown paper, The Post & Courier in Charleston, S.C. “But it’s about doing what’s right for our country.”

In Michigan, Representative Elissa Slotkin, a C.I.A. analyst, was greeted with jeers, chants and political threats from constituents at a town-hall-style meeting after revealing in a newspaper op-ed that she, too, would vote for both articles of impeachment.

In comments to reporters after the meeting, Ms. Slotkin said the decision was a “tough call.”

“I knew it would be controversial either way,” she said. “And I feel very firmly that I’m doing what I think is right. It may be that voters decide in 2020 that they don’t want me as their representative. I hope that’s not the case. I really do.”

The question at the heart of the impeachment debate is not whether Mr. Trump leaned on Ukraine to investigate one of his political rivals when Kyiv was in dire need of American military aid. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that he did. At issue is whether that constituted an egregious abuse of power that warrants impeachment.

The statements of support from the Democratic lawmakers came as the House Judiciary Committee formally presented its case for impeaching Mr. Trump in a 658-page report published online early Monday morning, arguing ahead of the final vote in the House that he “betrayed the nation by abusing his high office.”

Across the Capitol, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, previewed a coming partisan clash over the procedures to govern an impeachment trial in the Senate, demanding for the second day in a row that Republicans call senior White House officials to testify as witnesses.

About a dozen moderate Democrats have yet to announce how they will vote on Wednesday. Only two Democrats have indicated they will vote against impeaching Mr. Trump in a vote that could set in motion a Senate trial early next year.

Representative Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota has signaled he intends to vote no. Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey also plans to oppose the impeachment articles, but he plans to become a Republican either immediately before or just after the vote, leaving his own re-election chances murky in his swing district.

Lawmakers began returning to the Capitol on Monday as Congress braced for one of the most consequential weeks in recent memory. On Tuesday, they are scheduled to vote on a $1.4 trillion spending deal to avert a government shutdown. And on Thursday, lawmakers are expected to approve a new North American trade pact to replace NAFTA.

On Wednesday, the House will formally vote on the recommendations contained in the Judiciary Committee report, which echoes similar documents produced during the impeachment inquiries involving Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton.

The report provides no new allegations or evidence. But it offers a detailed supporting argument for the two articles of impeachment the committee approved, charging that Mr. Trump abused the power of the presidency to enlist Ukraine in tarnishing his political rivals and obstructed Congress by blocking witnesses from testifying and refusing to provide documents.

“President Trump has placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections, and our system of checks and balances,” the report stated. “He has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if left unchecked. Accordingly, President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.”

On Monday, the Democrats who announced they would support the charges described their votes as statements of principle against Mr. Trump’s conduct.

Representative Jason Crow of Colorado, who announced his decision at a town-hall-style meeting in his district, told his constituents: “No man or woman is above the law in our country, including the president.”

Representative Abigail Spanberger of Virginia said she would vote to impeach the president because “the world, and our children, are watching.” And Representative Andy Kim of New Jersey said in a statement that he was voting to impeach Mr. Trump to “stand up to those that abuse the power entrusted to them by the people.”

The Judiciary Committee’s report argued that the House should charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power for holding up the security aid and the promise of a White House meeting until Ukraine agreed to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and whether Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election.

“When the president demands that a foreign government announce investigations targeting his domestic political rival, he corrupts our elections,” the report said. “To the founders, this kind of corruption was especially pernicious, and plainly merited impeachment. American elections should be for Americans only.”

It also urged the House to approve an article of impeachment charging the president with obstruction of Congress, saying: “President Trump’s obstruction of Congress does not befit the leader of a democratic society. It calls to mind the very claims of royal privilege against which our founders rebelled.”

The report included a scathing 20-page dissent from Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who accused Democrats of conducting an unfair process in a partisan attempt to drive Mr. Trump from office because they dislike him and his policies.

“The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments,” he wrote. “The record put forth by the majority is based on inferences built upon presumptions and hearsay. In short, the majority has failed to make a credible, factually based allegation against this president that merits impeachment.”

Looking toward a Senate trial, Mr. Schumer on Monday renewed his demand that senators who serve as jurors should hear from Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff; John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser; Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mr. Mulvaney; and Michael Duffey, a top budget official.

All four were blocked from testifying by the White House, which asserted a blanket privilege from cooperating with the impeachment inquiry.

“By virtue of the senior administration positions they occupy, each of them will have information to share about the charges made by the House — information that no one has heard at this point,” Mr. Schumer said, adding that the Senate should also demand documents that the administration refused to provide to House investigators. “How, on such a weighty matter, could we avoid hearing this?”

The remarks by Mr. Schumer were the opening salvo in a coming negotiation with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. Mr. McConnell has signaled that he prefers a quick impeachment trial without witnesses, and has said that he will coordinate closely with Mr. Trump and his White House lawyers on the trial process.

Republicans close to Mr. McConnell said that the senator planned to meet with Mr. Schumer, probably before the week is over, to begin discussions about how to conduct a trial. While Mr. McConnell, as majority leader, can dictate the terms of a trial, his slim 53-seat majority means that the handful of more moderate Republican members in his ranks will have influence over how it unfolds.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of those moderate Republicans, declined on Monday to say whether she wanted witnesses to testify.

“I’m not going to make a judgment on the witness issue,” Ms. Collins said. “What I would like is for the leaders to sit down, as Senator McConnell has suggested, and work out a common set of procedures.”

But Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa, who is up for re-election next year, said she saw no need for the Senate to call additional witnesses for an impeachment case she called “a political exercise from the start.”

‪“I think we’re good there,” Ms. Ernst said. “I mean, if the House wanted to do more, they could have done more. We don’t need to clean up their sloppy job.”‬

Sheryl Gay Stolberg contributed reporting from Holly, Mich.; Patricia Mazzei from Summerville, S.C.; and Nicholas Fandos from Washington.

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Praise for Rep. Van Drew From Trump, Scorn From Those at Home

TRENTON, N.J. — When Representative Jeff Van Drew, a moderate Democrat who has staunchly opposed impeaching President Trump, decided to jump to the Republican Party, he got Mr. Trump’s encouragement and blessing.

There was even talk of an official announcement at the White House, right before or after the House votes on impeachment.

But back home in New Jersey, Mr. Van Drew, who faces re-election next year, received quite a different reception: He has quickly become anathema to people on both sides of the political divide.

Some Republicans described him as an opportunist who was making a craven bid to protect his seat in a district that Mr. Trump won. At least two Republicans who were already running for the seat said in interviews that they intended to remain in the race and work to defeat him.

“This is the end of his career,” said David Richter, a Republican businessman who has been campaigning for Mr. Van Drew’s seat since August and referred to him as a “weasel.”

Another Republican in the race, Brian Fitzherbert, who works for a defense contractor, was equally critical.

“He’s doing what he’s done for nearly 30 years,” he said. “Political survivorship. It’s desperation.”

Democrats were even more scathing. Nearly all of Mr. Van Drew’s Washington staff abruptly resigned over the weekend.

“Sadly, Congressman Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office,’’ according to a letter from five staff members. Two other staff members also resigned.

Letter From 5 Van Drew Staff Members

Five of Representative Jeff Van Drew’s staff members resigned over the weekend after his apparent decision to switch to the Republican Party.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail Praise for Rep. Van Drew From Trump, Scorn From Those at Home Van Drew, Jeff Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses New Jersey impeachment Elections, House of Representatives  1 page, 0.16 MB

Mr. Van Drew, who hails from a Republican-leaning district that for 24 years before his election was represented by a Republican, is one of only two Democrats who voted against rules laying out the impeachment process.

Mr. Van Drew has not spoken publicly since reports emerged over the weekend that he was switching parties. But in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News several weeks ago, Mr. Van Drew said Mr. Trump would likely survive an impeachment process given Republican control of the Senate and that voters, not Congress, should decide Mr. Trump’s fate.

“At the end of the day, I’m afraid all we’re going to have is a failed impeachment,” he said, adding: “The bottom line is he’s still going to be the president of the United States, and the bottom line is he is still going to be the candidate of the Republican Party. So why don’t we let the people do the impeachment by voting in the electoral process the way that we usually do.”

Senior advisers to Mr. Trump have assured Mr. Van Drew that he would have the president’s support in the primary.

The Trump campaign declined to comment on Monday. But Mr. Trump praised Mr. Van Drew on Sunday on Twitter. “Always heard Jeff is very smart!” the president wrote.

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick, a Republican who is the minority leader said, “I’ll take as many new Republicans as I can get in New Jersey.”

Congressional Republicans have also reached out to Mr. Van Drew in recent days to offer him advice on hiring new staff members.

Mr. Van Drew had been a prime target of congressional Republicans in their quest to take back the House.

His decision is certain to become a dominant issue next year and could energize Democrats in the district who helped elect him last year when a progressive surge flipped four congressional seats across New Jersey. The district stretches from Atlantic City west to the Pennsylvania border.

On Monday, Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University who had been taking steps toward challenging Mr. Van Drew as a Democrat in a primary, said that she, too, would run to replace him.

“I think he’s a traitor,” said Professor Harrison. “I think it is something that is emblematic of the cynicism of our country.”

Professor Harrison said she had met with Democratic county leaders in the district, who had declined to sign a letter backing Mr. Van Drew for re-election and criticized his anti-impeachment stance.

Mr. Richter, 53, said he had no plans to step aside to clear an easy path to the Republican nomination for Mr. Van Drew.

“I’m in this thing all the way through,” said Mr. Richter, a former chief executive of a publicly traded construction management firm, Hill International, who personally contributed $300,000 of the $413,000 his campaign raised during the first quarter.

“If I have to put $1 million of my own money into this race, to win, I’m prepared to do it,’’ he said.

Mr. Richter added that any support Mr. Trump offered Mr. Van Drew, in exchange for the distraction a high-profile Democratic defection could offer in a week when the president faces impeachment, would quickly fade once Mr. Trump had “gotten what he wanted.”

Mr. Richter added that he had “talked to a lot of Republicans. Nobody is happy about the switch.”

John Farmer Jr., director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, called the contest for the seat a “wide-open race” that would likely depend on how much the president was willing to help Mr. Van Drew.

As for whether Republican voters would embrace Mr. Van Drew after the switch, Mr. Farmer said, “I imagine it’s a difficult adjustment for people to suddenly view him as an ally.”

Other Republicans were reluctant to openly criticize Mr. Van Drew, saying they would defer to Mr. Trump’s views on the representative.

“The eyes of the nation are on this story and it is important that our response and reaction to it, be measured, coordinated, unified and respectful,” said Mike Testa Jr., who was elected in November to Mr. Van Drew’s former State Senate seat and who is a chairman of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort in New Jersey. “After discussions with our municipal leaders and those in Washington, we have mutually agreed to follow President Donald J. Trump’s lead on this issue.”

Mr. Van Drew has long had a difficult relationship with Democrats in New Jersey over some of the positions he took while in the State Senate, including opposing raising the minimum wage.

One of New Jersey’s most powerful Democrats, Stephen M. Sweeney, the Senate president, said the party would mount a major effort to oust Mr. Van Drew. And the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, offered jobs to the members of his congressional staff who had quit “to stand up for their Democratic values.”

“Now he is out of the Democratic Party and in November, we are going to take him out of Congress,” Mr. Sweeney said in a statement.

If Professor Harrison, who lives in Mr. Van Drew’s district, wins the support of established Democratic Party leaders there, she may face a primary challenge of her own.

Amy Kennedy, a mental health advocate who is married to former Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, a Democrat, said she was forming an exploratory committee, according to The Press of Atlantic City. Mr. Kennedy is the youngest child of Edward M. Kennedy.

On Monday, constituents at a Wawa convenience store in Vineland, N.J., had mixed reactions to Mr. Van Drew’s move.

“As long as he does what he thinks is the right thing, it doesn’t matter what party he is aligned with,” said Bill Crane, 65, who is not registered to vote with any political party and who did not vote for Mr. Van Drew in the last election.

“I don’t like the idea when they just blindly follow the party line,” added Mr. Crane, a roofing contractor who lives in Vineland.

But David Dunham, 65, who is not registered with either major party but voted for Mr. Van Drew, said he felt “misled” by his representative’s decision.

“He was elected as a Democrat,” Mr. Dunham, of Millville, N.J., said, “and for some reason he seems to have aligned himself with Trump, and he should have advertised that when he was elected.”

Michael Gold and Nick Corasaniti contributed reporting.

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Slotkin, Backing Trump’s Impeachment, Draws Instant Protests, and Applause

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-slotkin-facebookJumbo Slotkin, Backing Trump’s Impeachment, Draws Instant Protests, and Applause United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Slotkin, Elissa Michigan impeachment Elections, House of Representatives

ROCHESTER, Mich. — The blowback began on Monday even before Representative Elissa Slotkin took the lectern to announce she would vote to impeach President Trump.

Dozens of angry Trump supporters bearing “Impeach Slotkin, Keep Trump” signs shouted down Ms. Slotkin, a first-term congresswoman, at a packed town hall-style meeting in a university ballroom, chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Elissa Slotkin has got to go!” and “One-term congresswoman!” and “C.I.A. Hack!” — a reference to Ms. Slotkin’s past work as a C.I.A. analyst.

Keeping her composure, Ms. Slotkin plowed through her statement — “Guys, let’s try to have a civil conversation,” she said at one point — and then took questions, though her pleas for civility were ignored.

The more she explained her decision to constituents in her district north of Detroit, one that Mr. Trump won in 2016, the angrier and louder the protests grew.

“MAGA! MAGA!” attendees shouted, repeating the president’s campaign slogan. “Four more years! Four more years!”

But the voices on the other side, though not nearly as loud, were present in force. Most in the crowd of about 400 people who gathered here on Monday leaped to their feet and applauded when Ms. Slotkin announced her intention to vote “yes” on Wednesday when the House holds its vote on the articles of impeachment.

One of her supporters arrived with a competing sign: “We’ve got your back, Representative Slotkin.”

So it has been all year for Ms. Slotkin, who served in Iraq as a C.I.A. analyst and in the Obama Defense Department before she ran for Congress in 2018, winning a seat that had been held by Republicans for 20 years. Caught in the middle of the United States’ red-blue divide, she resisted impeachment for months, even after Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, issued a report detailing at least 10 instances of obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump.

The story of how she arrived at her impeachment decision is the story of so many moderate Democrats in this year’s historic freshman class. Moved to run for public office to counter the rise of Mr. Trump, they flipped Republican seats and are now in danger of becoming one-term members of Congress — possibly costing their party control of the House — over a decision they tried mightily to avoid.

Ms. Slotkin announced her decision in an opinion piece on Monday morning in The Detroit Free Press, making instant headlines here. She had submitted it the night before, as she pored through a thick, leather-bound binder containing the House Intelligence Committee’s report on Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and a thick tome containing the House of Representatives’ manual of rules, procedures and precedents.

“I didn’t dream of being a politician,” Ms. Slotkin said in an interview Sunday night. “My whole life. This was not part of my normal plan. And if this district sees fit to elect someone else, then I will accept that and walk away with my head held high that I’ve made decisions based on principle, and not political calculus.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Slotkin, Backing Impeachment, Draws Instant Protests, and Applause

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-slotkin-facebookJumbo Slotkin, Backing Impeachment, Draws Instant Protests, and Applause United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Slotkin, Elissa Michigan impeachment Elections, House of Representatives

ROCHESTER, Mich. — The blowback began on Monday even before Representative Elissa Slotkin took the lectern to announce she would vote to impeach President Trump.

Dozens of angry Trump supporters bearing “Impeach Slotkin, Keep Trump” signs shouted down Ms. Slotkin, a first-term congresswoman, at a packed town hall-style meeting in a university ballroom, chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Elissa Slotkin has got to go!” and “One-term congresswoman!” and “C.I.A. Hack!” — a reference to Ms. Slotkin’s past work as a C.I.A. analyst.

Keeping her composure, Ms. Slotkin plowed through her statement — “Guys, let’s try to have a civil conversation,” she said at one point — and then took questions, though her pleas for civility were ignored.

The more she explained her decision to constituents in her district north of Detroit, one that Mr. Trump won in 2016, the angrier and louder the protests grew.

“MAGA! MAGA!” attendees shouted, repeating the president’s campaign slogan. “Four more years! Four more years!”

But the voices on the other side, though not nearly as loud, were present in force. Most in the crowd of about 400 people who gathered here on Monday leaped to their feet and applauded when Ms. Slotkin announced her intention to vote “yes” on Wednesday when the House holds its vote on the articles of impeachment.

One of her supporters arrived with a competing sign: “We’ve got your back, Representative Slotkin.”

So it has been all year for Ms. Slotkin, who served in Iraq as a C.I.A. analyst and in the Obama Defense Department before she ran for Congress in 2018, winning a seat that had been held by Republicans for 20 years. Caught in the middle of the United States’ red-blue divide, she resisted impeachment for months, even after Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, issued a report detailing at least 10 instances of obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump.

The story of how she arrived at her impeachment decision is the story of so many moderate Democrats in this year’s historic freshman class. Moved to run for public office to counter the rise of Mr. Trump, they flipped Republican seats and are now in danger of becoming one-term members of Congress — possibly costing their party control of the House — over a decision they tried mightily to avoid.

Ms. Slotkin announced her decision in an opinion piece on Monday morning in The Detroit Free Press, making instant headlines here. She had submitted it the night before, as she pored through a thick, leather-bound binder containing the House Intelligence Committee’s report on Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and a thick tome containing the House of Representatives’ manual of rules, procedures and precedents.

“I didn’t dream of being a politician,” Ms. Slotkin said in an interview Sunday night. “My whole life. This was not part of my normal plan. And if this district sees fit to elect someone else, then I will accept that and walk away with my head held high that I’ve made decisions based on principle, and not political calculus.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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

7 Aides Resign Over Rep. Van Drew’s Plan to Switch to Republican Party

Nearly all of Representative Jeff Van Drew’s Washington staff resigned over the weekend as both Democrats and Republicans harshly criticized the moderate Democrat’s apparent decision to switch parties just as the House prepares to undertake its historic vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Mr. Van Drew, who hails from a conservative district that for 24 years before his election was represented by a Republican, is one of only two Democrats who voted against rules laying out the impeachment process.

“Sadly, Congressman Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office,’’ according to a letter from five staff members, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times.

Letter From 5 Van Drew Staff Members

Five of Representative Jeff Van Drew’s staff members resigned over the weekend after his apparent decision to switch to the Republican Party.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail 7 Aides Resign Over Rep. Van Drew’s Plan to Switch to Republican Party Van Drew, Jeff Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses New Jersey impeachment Elections, House of Representatives  1 page, 0.16 MB

NBC News reported that a sixth staffer had also resigned. A seventh person also resigned, according to a person familiar with the situation in Mr. Van Drew’s office, leaving his chief of staff as the sole remaining staff member in his Washington office.

Mr. Van Drew’s decision drew bipartisan condemnations and is certain to become a dominant issue when he runs for re-election next year.

A Republican running for his seat called him a weasel who was not to be trusted. A Democratic foe labeled him a traitor. The governor of New Jersey said he lacked the courage to protect the Constitution.

“This is the end of his career,” said David Richter, a Republican businessman who has been campaigning for Mr. Van Drew’s seat in Congress since August and referred to him on Sunday as a “weasel.”

On Monday, Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University who had been taking steps toward challenging Mr. Van Drew as a Democrat in a primary, said that she, too, would run to replace him.

“I think he’s a traitor,” said Professor Harrison. “I think it is something that is emblematic of the cynicism of our country.”

In a separate statement announcing her campaign, she said that Mr. Van Drew had “ignored the voices of our community and has instead sold his soul, cutting back-room deals with the White House.”

Even before word of Mr. Van Drew’s apparent plans became public, Professor Harrison said, she had met with Democratic county leaders in the district, who had declined to sign a letter backing Mr. Van Drew for re-election and had criticized his anti-impeachment stance.

“If I have to put $1 million of my own money into this race, to win, I’m prepared to do it.”

Mr. Van Drew did not return calls. But the freshman congressman who is up for re-election next year has told aides he is preparing to switch parties as soon as this week.

In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News several weeks ago, Mr. Van Drew said Mr. Trump would likely survive an impeachment process given Republican control of the Senate and that voters, not Congress, should decide Mr. Trump’s fate.

“At the end of the day, I’m afraid all we’re going to have is a failed impeachment,” he said, adding: “The bottom line is he’s still going to be the president of the United States, and the bottom line is he is still going to be the candidate of the Republican Party. So why don’t we let the people do the impeachment by voting in the electoral process the way that we usually do.”

Mr. Richter, 53, said he had been told by Republican leaders in the district that crosses Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic Counties that Mr. Trump was expected to endorse Mr. Van Drew. Still, he said he had no plans to step aside to clear an easy path to the Republican nomination for Mr. Van Drew.

“I’m in this thing all the way through,” said Mr. Richter, a former chief executive of a publicly traded construction management firm, Hill International, who personally contributed $300,000 of the $413,000 his campaign raised during the first quarter.

“I’ve talked to a lot of Republicans,” he said. “Nobody is happy about the switch.”

Mr. Richter added that any support Mr. Trump offered Mr. Van Drew, in exchange for the distraction a high-profile Democratic defection could offer in a week when the president faces impeachment, would quickly fade once Mr. Trump had “gotten what he wanted.”

The state Republican chairman, Doug Steinhardt, could not be reached for comment. Mike Testa Jr., a Republican who was elected in November to Mr. Van Drew’s former State Senate seat and who is a chairman of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort in New Jersey, did not return calls.

The staff members who resigned include Mr. Van Drew’s communications director, director of constituency relations and legislative director.

The resignation of the five staff members was reported by Politico.

In addition to Mr. Richter, Mr. Van Drew could face two other already-announced opponents, Brian Fitzherbert and Bob Patterson, if he pursues the Republican nomination.

“He’s doing what he’s done for nearly 30 years,” Mr. Fitzherbert said of Mr. Van Drew. “Political survivorship. It’s desperation.”

Democrats were equally unsparing in their criticism.

The state’s powerful Senate president, Stephen M. Sweeney, vowed retribution as the national Democratic Party offered jobs to the members of Mr. Van Drew’s congressional staff who had quit “to stand up for their Democratic values.”

“Jeff Van Drew’s decision to switch parties is a betrayal to every voter who supported him in 2018,” Mr. Sweeney said in a statement. “But now he is out of the Democratic Party and in November, we are going to take him out of Congress.”

Gov. Philip D. Murphy, speaking on CNN, predicted that Mr. Van Drew would be defeated.

“He’s putting politics over the Constitution,” Mr. Murphy said. “I think it’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Van Drew’s district sprawls across the southern part of New Jersey, from Atlantic City west toward the Pennsylvania border.

If Professor Harrison, who lives in Longport in Mr. Van Drew’s district, wins the support of established Democratic Party leaders in the district, she may face a primary challenge of her own.

The left-leaning Working Families Alliance issued a statement late Saturday laying blame for the debacle on George Norcross III, a Democratic power broker who is a member of the Democratic National Committee and who had supported Mr. Van Drew’s political climb from mayor to state senator to congressman.

“This is a direct result of the South Jersey Democratic machine’s power — a machine that engineered Van Drew’s rise knowing his values were out of step with the party,” said Sue Altman, director of the alliance, an affiliate of the national Working Families Party.

On Sunday, she said she anticipated insurgent Democratic challengers.

“I think there’s still some very qualified candidates who are going to emerge,” Ms. Altman said. “I would imagine there’s a real thirst for an anti-machine candidate.”

Professor Harrison, a 54-year-old mother of three who has taught at Montclair for more than two decades, said she did not consider herself a political insider.

“I don’t think of myself as being establishment,” she said.

Michael Gold contributed reporting.

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

7 Aides Resign Over Rep. Van Drew’s Plan to Switch to Republican Party

Nearly all of Representative Jeff Van Drew’s Washington staff resigned over the weekend as both Democrats and Republicans harshly criticized the moderate Democrat’s apparent decision to switch parties just as the House prepares to undertake its historic vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Mr. Van Drew, who hails from a conservative district that for 24 years before his election was represented by a Republican, is one of only two Democrats who voted against rules laying out the impeachment process.

“Sadly, Congressman Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office,’’ according to a letter from five staff members, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times.

Letter From 5 Van Drew Staff Members

Five of Representative Jeff Van Drew’s staff members resigned over the weekend after his apparent decision to switch to the Republican Party.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail 7 Aides Resign Over Rep. Van Drew’s Plan to Switch to Republican Party Van Drew, Jeff Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses New Jersey impeachment Elections, House of Representatives  1 page, 0.16 MB

NBC News reported that a sixth staffer had also resigned. A seventh person also resigned, according to a person familiar with the situation in Mr. Van Drew’s office, leaving his chief of staff as the sole remaining staff member in his Washington office.

Mr. Van Drew’s decision drew bipartisan condemnations and is certain to become a dominant issue when he runs for re-election next year.

A Republican running for his seat called him a weasel who was not to be trusted. A Democratic foe labeled him a traitor. The governor of New Jersey said he lacked the courage to protect the Constitution.

“This is the end of his career,” said David Richter, a Republican businessman who has been campaigning for Mr. Van Drew’s seat in Congress since August and referred to him on Sunday as a “weasel.”

On Monday, Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University who had been taking steps toward challenging Mr. Van Drew as a Democrat in a primary, said that she, too, would run to replace him.

“I think he’s a traitor,” said Professor Harrison. “I think it is something that is emblematic of the cynicism of our country.”

In a separate statement announcing her campaign, she said that Mr. Van Drew had “ignored the voices of our community and has instead sold his soul, cutting back-room deals with the White House.”

Even before word of Mr. Van Drew’s apparent plans became public, Professor Harrison said, she had met with Democratic county leaders in the district, who had declined to sign a letter backing Mr. Van Drew for re-election and had criticized his anti-impeachment stance.

“If I have to put $1 million of my own money into this race, to win, I’m prepared to do it.”

Mr. Van Drew did not return calls. But the freshman congressman who is up for re-election next year has told aides he is preparing to switch parties as soon as this week.

In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News several weeks ago, Mr. Van Drew said Mr. Trump would likely survive an impeachment process given Republican control of the Senate and that voters, not Congress, should decide Mr. Trump’s fate.

“At the end of the day, I’m afraid all we’re going to have is a failed impeachment,” he said, adding: “The bottom line is he’s still going to be the president of the United States, and the bottom line is he is still going to be the candidate of the Republican Party. So why don’t we let the people do the impeachment by voting in the electoral process the way that we usually do.”

Mr. Richter, 53, said he had been told by Republican leaders in the district that crosses Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic Counties that Mr. Trump was expected to endorse Mr. Van Drew. Still, he said he had no plans to step aside to clear an easy path to the Republican nomination for Mr. Van Drew.

“I’m in this thing all the way through,” said Mr. Richter, a former chief executive of a publicly traded construction management firm, Hill International, who personally contributed $300,000 of the $413,000 his campaign raised during the first quarter.

“I’ve talked to a lot of Republicans,” he said. “Nobody is happy about the switch.”

Mr. Richter added that any support Mr. Trump offered Mr. Van Drew, in exchange for the distraction a high-profile Democratic defection could offer in a week when the president faces impeachment, would quickly fade once Mr. Trump had “gotten what he wanted.”

The state Republican chairman, Doug Steinhardt, could not be reached for comment. Mike Testa Jr., a Republican who was elected in November to Mr. Van Drew’s former State Senate seat and who is a chairman of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort in New Jersey, did not return calls.

The staff members who resigned include Mr. Van Drew’s communications director, director of constituency relations and legislative director.

The resignation of the five staff members was reported by Politico.

In addition to Mr. Richter, Mr. Van Drew could face two other already-announced opponents, Brian Fitzherbert and Bob Patterson, if he pursues the Republican nomination.

“He’s doing what he’s done for nearly 30 years,” Mr. Fitzherbert said of Mr. Van Drew. “Political survivorship. It’s desperation.”

Democrats were equally unsparing in their criticism.

The state’s powerful Senate president, Stephen M. Sweeney, vowed retribution as the national Democratic Party offered jobs to the members of Mr. Van Drew’s congressional staff who had quit “to stand up for their Democratic values.”

“Jeff Van Drew’s decision to switch parties is a betrayal to every voter who supported him in 2018,” Mr. Sweeney said in a statement. “But now he is out of the Democratic Party and in November, we are going to take him out of Congress.”

Gov. Philip D. Murphy, speaking on CNN, predicted that Mr. Van Drew would be defeated.

“He’s putting politics over the Constitution,” Mr. Murphy said. “I think it’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Van Drew’s district sprawls across the southern part of New Jersey, from Atlantic City west toward the Pennsylvania border.

If Professor Harrison, who lives in Longport in Mr. Van Drew’s district, wins the support of established Democratic Party leaders in the district, she may face a primary challenge of her own.

The left-leaning Working Families Alliance issued a statement late Saturday laying blame for the debacle on George Norcross III, a Democratic power broker who is a member of the Democratic National Committee and who had supported Mr. Van Drew’s political climb from mayor to state senator to congressman.

“This is a direct result of the South Jersey Democratic machine’s power — a machine that engineered Van Drew’s rise knowing his values were out of step with the party,” said Sue Altman, director of the alliance, an affiliate of the national Working Families Party.

On Sunday, she said she anticipated insurgent Democratic challengers.

“I think there’s still some very qualified candidates who are going to emerge,” Ms. Altman said. “I would imagine there’s a real thirst for an anti-machine candidate.”

Professor Harrison, a 54-year-old mother of three who has taught at Montclair for more than two decades, said she did not consider herself a political insider.

“I don’t think of myself as being establishment,” she said.

Michael Gold contributed reporting.

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

7 Aides Resign Over Rep. Van Drew’s Plan to Switch to Republican Party

Nearly all of Representative Jeff Van Drew’s Washington staff resigned over the weekend as both Democrats and Republicans harshly criticized the moderate Democrat’s apparent decision to switch parties just as the House prepares to undertake its historic vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Mr. Van Drew, who hails from a conservative district that for 24 years before his election was represented by a Republican, is one of only two Democrats who voted against rules laying out the impeachment process.

“Sadly, Congressman Van Drew’s decision to join the ranks of Republican Party led by Donald Trump does not align with the values we brought to this job when we joined his office,’’ according to a letter from five staff members, a copy of which was provided to The New York Times.

Letter From 5 Van Drew Staff Members

Five of Representative Jeff Van Drew’s staff members resigned over the weekend after his apparent decision to switch to the Republican Party.

Westlake Legal Group thumbnail 7 Aides Resign Over Rep. Van Drew’s Plan to Switch to Republican Party Van Drew, Jeff Trump, Donald J Primaries and Caucuses New Jersey impeachment Elections, House of Representatives  1 page, 0.16 MB

NBC News reported that a sixth staffer had also resigned. A seventh person also resigned, according to a person familiar with the situation in Mr. Van Drew’s office, leaving his chief of staff as the sole remaining staff member in his Washington office.

Mr. Van Drew’s decision drew bipartisan condemnations and is certain to become a dominant issue when he runs for re-election next year.

A Republican running for his seat called him a weasel who was not to be trusted. A Democratic foe labeled him a traitor. The governor of New Jersey said he lacked the courage to protect the Constitution.

“This is the end of his career,” said David Richter, a Republican businessman who has been campaigning for Mr. Van Drew’s seat in Congress since August and referred to him on Sunday as a “weasel.”

On Monday, Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair State University who had been taking steps toward challenging Mr. Van Drew as a Democrat in a primary, said that she, too, would run to replace him.

“I think he’s a traitor,” said Professor Harrison. “I think it is something that is emblematic of the cynicism of our country.”

In a separate statement announcing her campaign, she said that Mr. Van Drew had “ignored the voices of our community and has instead sold his soul, cutting back-room deals with the White House.”

Even before word of Mr. Van Drew’s apparent plans became public, Professor Harrison said, she had met with Democratic county leaders in the district, who had declined to sign a letter backing Mr. Van Drew for re-election and had criticized his anti-impeachment stance.

“If I have to put $1 million of my own money into this race, to win, I’m prepared to do it.”

Mr. Van Drew did not return calls. But the freshman congressman who is up for re-election next year has told aides he is preparing to switch parties as soon as this week.

In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News several weeks ago, Mr. Van Drew said Mr. Trump would likely survive an impeachment process given Republican control of the Senate and that voters, not Congress, should decide Mr. Trump’s fate.

“At the end of the day, I’m afraid all we’re going to have is a failed impeachment,” he said, adding: “The bottom line is he’s still going to be the president of the United States, and the bottom line is he is still going to be the candidate of the Republican Party. So why don’t we let the people do the impeachment by voting in the electoral process the way that we usually do.”

Mr. Richter, 53, said he had been told by Republican leaders in the district that crosses Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic Counties that Mr. Trump was expected to endorse Mr. Van Drew. Still, he said he had no plans to step aside to clear an easy path to the Republican nomination for Mr. Van Drew.

“I’m in this thing all the way through,” said Mr. Richter, a former chief executive of a publicly traded construction management firm, Hill International, who personally contributed $300,000 of the $413,000 his campaign raised during the first quarter.

“I’ve talked to a lot of Republicans,” he said. “Nobody is happy about the switch.”

Mr. Richter added that any support Mr. Trump offered Mr. Van Drew, in exchange for the distraction a high-profile Democratic defection could offer in a week when the president faces impeachment, would quickly fade once Mr. Trump had “gotten what he wanted.”

The state Republican chairman, Doug Steinhardt, could not be reached for comment. Mike Testa Jr., a Republican who was elected in November to Mr. Van Drew’s former State Senate seat and who is a chairman of Mr. Trump’s re-election effort in New Jersey, did not return calls.

The staff members who resigned include Mr. Van Drew’s communications director, director of constituency relations and legislative director.

The resignation of the five staff members was reported by Politico.

In addition to Mr. Richter, Mr. Van Drew could face two other already-announced opponents, Brian Fitzherbert and Bob Patterson, if he pursues the Republican nomination.

“He’s doing what he’s done for nearly 30 years,” Mr. Fitzherbert said of Mr. Van Drew. “Political survivorship. It’s desperation.”

Democrats were equally unsparing in their criticism.

The state’s powerful Senate president, Stephen M. Sweeney, vowed retribution as the national Democratic Party offered jobs to the members of Mr. Van Drew’s congressional staff who had quit “to stand up for their Democratic values.”

“Jeff Van Drew’s decision to switch parties is a betrayal to every voter who supported him in 2018,” Mr. Sweeney said in a statement. “But now he is out of the Democratic Party and in November, we are going to take him out of Congress.”

Gov. Philip D. Murphy, speaking on CNN, predicted that Mr. Van Drew would be defeated.

“He’s putting politics over the Constitution,” Mr. Murphy said. “I think it’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Van Drew’s district sprawls across the southern part of New Jersey, from Atlantic City west toward the Pennsylvania border.

If Professor Harrison, who lives in Longport in Mr. Van Drew’s district, wins the support of established Democratic Party leaders in the district, she may face a primary challenge of her own.

The left-leaning Working Families Alliance issued a statement late Saturday laying blame for the debacle on George Norcross III, a Democratic power broker who is a member of the Democratic National Committee and who had supported Mr. Van Drew’s political climb from mayor to state senator to congressman.

“This is a direct result of the South Jersey Democratic machine’s power — a machine that engineered Van Drew’s rise knowing his values were out of step with the party,” said Sue Altman, director of the alliance, an affiliate of the national Working Families Party.

On Sunday, she said she anticipated insurgent Democratic challengers.

“I think there’s still some very qualified candidates who are going to emerge,” Ms. Altman said. “I would imagine there’s a real thirst for an anti-machine candidate.”

Professor Harrison, a 54-year-old mother of three who has taught at Montclair for more than two decades, said she did not consider herself a political insider.

“I don’t think of myself as being establishment,” she said.

Michael Gold contributed reporting.

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Judiciary Committee Report Argues Trump ‘Betrayed the Nation’

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-impeach-facebookJumbo Judiciary Committee Report Argues Trump ‘Betrayed the Nation’ Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Elections, House of Representatives

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee formally presented its case for impeaching President Trump in a 658-page report published online early Monday morning, arguing just days before a final vote in the House that he “betrayed the nation by abusing his high office.”

The report, which echoes similar documents produced after the committee’s approval of impeachment articles for Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, contains no new allegations or evidence against Mr. Trump.

But it offers a detailed road map for the two articles of impeachment the committee approved, charging that Mr. Trump abused the power of the presidency to enlist Ukraine in tarnishing his political rivals and obstructing Congress by blocking witnesses from testifying and refusing to provide documents.

The House is expected to vote on Wednesday on whether to impeach the sitting president for only the third time in the nation’s history, setting in motion a trial in the Senate early next year that could lead to Mr. Trump’s removal from office.

“President Trump has placed his personal, political interests above our national security, our free and fair elections, and our system of checks and balances,” the report states. “He has engaged in a pattern of misconduct that will continue if left unchecked. Accordingly, President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.”

The report argues that the House should charge Mr. Trump with abuse of power for holding up nearly $400 million worth of security aid and the promise of a White House meeting until Ukraine agreed to announce investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and 2016 election interference.

“When the president demands that a foreign government announce investigations targeting his domestic political rival, he corrupts our elections,” the report states. “To the founders, this kind of corruption was especially pernicious, and plainly merited impeachment. American elections should be for Americans only.”

It also urges the House to approve an article of impeachment charging the president with obstruction of Congress, saying that “President Trump’s obstruction of Congress does not befit the leader of a democratic society. It calls to mind the very claims of royal privilege against which our founders rebelled.”

The report includes a scathing 20-page dissent from Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, who accuses Democrats on the panel of conducting an unfair process in a partisan attempt to drive Mr. Trump from office because of their dislike of him and his policies.

“The case is not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments,” he writes. “The record put forth by the majority is based on inferences built upon presumptions and hearsay. In short, the majority has failed to make a credible, factually-based allegation against this president that merits impeachment.”

Mr. Collins concludes: “Before the House are two articles of impeachment against the president of the United States, Donald John Trump. To these articles, the minority dissents.”

The report by the Democratic-controlled committee rejects the criticism that the impeachment inquiry was unfair to Mr. Trump and Republicans, arguing that the president had many opportunities to have his lawyer present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during the inquiry.

“The president’s decision to reject these opportunities to participate affirms that his principal objective was to obstruct the House’s inquiry rather than assist in its full consideration of all relevant evidence,” the report states.

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