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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 109)

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.

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

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.

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

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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Trump Officials Praise Gains From China Deal, but They Come at a Cost

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-chinatrade1-facebookJumbo Trump Officials Praise Gains From China Deal, but They Come at a Cost United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials predicted big gains for the economy from a newly announced trade deal with China, but the economic losses sustained during a bruising 19-month trade war will not be easy to make up.

In a televised interview on Sunday, President Trump’s top trade negotiator praised the progress that the agreement between the world’s two biggest economies would make on issues like intellectual property, currency and financial services. He described the deal as “remarkable” and predicted that it would roughly double American exports to China by 2021.

Yet the negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, admitted that the limited agreement, which the administration says is just the first of several phases, was only a partial victory. He said it would leave many of the existing tariffs between the countries in place and other bigger changes to the Chinese economy undone.

“This is a first step in trying to integrate two very different systems, to the benefit of both of us,” Mr. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Anyone who thinks you would change China in one stroke of the pen “is foolish,” he said, adding: “The president is not foolish. He is very smart.”

Business groups have welcomed the first-phase trade pact as a sign of easing tensions in the trade war. On Sunday, Mr. Lighthizer predicted that Chinese purchases of American products would rise by more than $100 billion a year once the agreement, which is expected to be signed in January, goes into effect.

But the economic benefits of the pact appear to have come at significant costs — namely, the tariffs Mr. Trump imposed to force China to accept an agreement and the uncertainty that his unpredictable approach to trade has created. Those factors have added new costs for businesses, forced them to undertake expensive changes to their supply chains and caused them to put off investments and new hiring.

Once those costs are taken into account, trade experts said, the gains from the new agreement are less clear.

“It’s hard to see this China deal as the vindication of the president’s tactics,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s a pretty small deal, coming at a pretty high cost.”

To persuade China to bend to American demands, Mr. Trump imposed more new tariffs than any other president in modern history. On Friday, Mr. Trump announced that he would not go forward with an additional tariff increase planned for Sunday and that he would lower the rate on some of the tariffs he had already placed on China.

But tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods — the bulk of products the country exports to the United States — will stay in place indefinitely.

The remaining tariffs cover a wide range of product categories in which American officials contend that the Chinese government has provided huge subsidies to businesses to become globally competitive. They also include many goods for which the Trump administration is leery of having the United States depend on China for national security or economic security reasons, such as nuclear reactor parts or certain widely used industrial pumps and motors.

In the interview on Sunday, Mr. Lighthizer described those tariffs as motivation for China to continue to negotiate with the United States. But many businesses continue to denounce them as a tax on doing business with the world’s second-largest economy.

Companies that import parts and finished products from China have already paid nearly $40 billion in additional taxes since Mr. Trump imposed his first tariffs, data from United States Customs and Border Protection shows. While Mr. Trump insists that China is paying those tariffs, most economic studies have found that the burden of the levies falls more heavily on American businesses and consumers than Chinese ones.

The deal will need to make up a lot of ground in the area of agriculture, as well.

Under pressure from the trade war, American farm exports to China have fallen sharply, as China has put tariffs on American products and Chinese state purchasers shifted to buying goods from Brazil, Argentina and other countries. American agricultural exports to China fell from $19.6 billion in 2017 to $9.2 billion in 2018, according to the United States Agriculture Department, and have remained depressed this year.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have predicted that the deal will result in China buying $40 billion to $50 billion of American farm products per year. But some analysts have questioned how realistic those estimates are, given that the highest level of farm products the United States has ever exported to China was $26 billion in 2012.

The uncertainty created by the trade war also appears to have taken a substantial toll on the American and global economy, particularly by suppressing business investment.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have pointed to record-low unemployment, a strong stock market and high consumer confidence as evidence that their trade war has little downside. But economists say American growth would be even stronger if not for the trade war.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimated that the trade war lowered American gross domestic product by a third of a percentage point in the third quarter, when the American economy grew by 1.9 percent.

“The trade war has done significant damage to the economy,” Mr. Zandi said. “You can see the fingerprints of the trade war clearly in the manufacturing sector.”

The new tariffs that Mr. Trump decided not to move ahead with on Sunday would have fallen more heavily on American consumers by raising the price of apparel, smartphones and other finished goods. He also scaled back tariffs imposed in September on other consumer products.

But earlier tranches of tariffs, which fell more heavily on industrial components and machinery, will remain in effect. That could ironically penalize some companies for making goods in the United States, instead of China.

Robert J. Leo, a lawyer for the American Down and Feather Council, said that levies would remain in effect on down and feathers from China, but not on Chinese-made comforters and pillows.

“That means the Chinese manufacturers can manufacture their products and get them into the country without tariffs,” where American manufacturers that import the goods to make products in the United States will still be charged, Mr. Leo said.

Despite the barriers that remain, Mr. Lighthizer said in the interview that Friday was “probably the most momentous day in trade history ever,” because in addition to announcing the agreement with China, the administration submitted its revised United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Congress for a vote.

The two deals “have been hyped as short-term wins for the U.S. resulting from hard-nosed negotiations by the Trump administration,” said Eswar Prasad, a trade professor at Cornell University. “But the outcomes of these trade deals hardly compensate for the heightened uncertainty resulting from the trade tensions unleashed by the Trump administration on multiple fronts that has hurt business sentiment and contributed to falling investment.”

The North American deal has gained the support of congressional Democrats and appeared to be on track for passage in the House of Representatives as early as this week. But in recent days, Mexico has raised new concerns about the deal’s stronger labor provisions, throwing up a potential stumbling block to its passage.

Jesús Seade, Mexico’s chief negotiator for the pact, flew to Washington for meetings on Sunday after the United States said it would send as many as five labor attachés to Mexico to monitor labor conditions under the deal. Mexico has described the idea as a violation of its sovereignty.

For its part, the Chinese government appeared over the weekend to be keeping up its end of the deal struck on Friday, starting with the cancellation on Sunday of plans to impose further retaliatory tariffs against the United States.

China’s Finance Ministry announced that the country’s tariff commission had rescinded plans to impose tariffs of 5 percent or 10 percent on a range of American products, notably farm goods like sorghum and seed corn as well as flavored tea, electric clocks, magnifying glasses and navigational radars. China had previously said that it would put the tariffs in place if the United States proceeded with plans to impose further tariffs on Sunday.

The ministry said China would continue to collect 25 percent tariffs on a wide range of other American goods, in retaliation for the continued American imposition of 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion a year worth of Chinese goods.

Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, praised the trade deal on Saturday, and that praise was widely echoed by state media.

Mr. Wang said the Phase 1 pact was based on principles of mutual respect between China and the United States — a crucial requirement and endorsement from Beijing’s perspective. He also said the understanding between the two countries was good news for their economies and for the global economy.

“It will help to shore up confidence” in the global economy, Mr. Wang said, according to state-run Chinese television.

Ana Swanson reported from Washington, and Keith Bradsher from Beijing. Chris Buckley contributed reporting from Beijing.

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Representative Jeff Van Drew, Anti-Impeachment Democrat, Plans to Switch Parties

Westlake Legal Group merlin_163630359_4d3f6f4a-d3dd-401a-93ff-381e75bcbe08-facebookJumbo Representative Jeff Van Drew, Anti-Impeachment Democrat, Plans to Switch Parties Van Drew, Jeff Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Republican Party impeachment Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, a moderate Democrat who is among his party’s staunchest opponents of impeaching President Trump, told aides on Saturday that he is planning to switch parties and declare himself a Republican as soon as next week, just as the House is casting its historic votes on articles of impeachment.

At a White House meeting on Friday, Mr. Van Drew sought Mr. Trump’s blessing for the move, which could be critical to his ability to avoid a primary challenge next year, and the president urged him to make the jump, according to two Democrats and one Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were intended to be private.

Mr. Van Drew has spoken with senior advisers to Mr. Trump about announcing his switch at an event at the White House either immediately before or just after the House votes on two articles of impeachment, which is expected to happen on Wednesday, according to Republicans and Democrats.

Beyond the potential boost to Mr. Van Drew’s own political fortunes, the move would also provide a silver lining for Mr. Trump as he becomes the third president ever to be impeached. The president has characterized the drive to remove him as an entirely partisan exercise that will cost Democrats their majority in the House, and a high-profile Democratic defection could help bolster his case while allowing him to divert attention from the vote.

The decision by Mr. Van Drew reflects the heavy political consequences hanging over next week’s impeachment vote, particularly for moderate Democrats in districts that supported Mr. Trump in 2016. While there is little doubt that Democrats will have the votes to approve the charges against the president in a near party-line vote, a small number of their conservative-leaning members are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of taking part in a Democrat-only impeachment vote and are spending the weekend torn over how to proceed.

Mr. Van Drew did not respond to a request for comment.

Last month, Mr. Van Drew vowed in a two-hour teleconference that he would remain a Democrat.

“I am absolutely not changing,” he said, stating his lifelong position as a moderate Democrat.

But conversations between Mr. Van Drew and top advisers to Mr. Trump intensified in recent days, according to a Republican familiar with the discussions, with the lawmaker making clear that he was nervous about losing his seat, either in a Democratic primary or the general election.

Those talks came after Mr. Van Drew saw the results of a poll conducted this month that suggested that a vote against impeaching Mr. Trump would damage his chances of winning his Democratic primary. The poll, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, showed that the overwhelming majority of Democratic primary voters — 71 percent — would be less likely to support his re-election if he opposed the charges against Mr. Trump.

A freshman lawmaker from a historically Republican-leaning southern New Jersey district, Mr. Van Drew has already made clear he will not support impeachment, which has prompted talk of a liberal primary challenger.

“I don’t see anything there worthy of actually taking a president out of office,” he said earlier in the week.

Mr. Van Drew was one of only two House Democrats who opposed the impeachment process when the party’s leaders brought the matter to a vote in October to lay out ground rules for the inquiry. That stance has made him the target of sharp criticism from progressive activists and protests outside his district office. Perhaps more notable, his state’s machine-aligned Democratic leaders have also gone public with their own discomfort over his stance.

“I am imploring you to vote in favor of impeachment,” Michael Suleiman, the Atlantic County Democratic chairman, wrote in a letter to Mr. Van Drew, warning about repercussions for other Democrats. “A ‘no’ vote on impeachment will suppress Democratic turnout down-ballot, which my organization cannot sustain,” he continued.

A former state senator, Mr. Van Drew represents a congressional district the president won by about 5 points in 2016. Mr. Van Drew won the seat more easily thanks to a Republican opponent who made racist comments and lost his backing from the national party.

But congressional Republicans were already focusing on Mr. Van Drew, considering him a top target in their effort to take back the House.

Mr. Van Drew kept his discussions about leaving the Democratic Party closely guarded. On Saturday afternoon, as word circulated about his switch, his re-election campaign emailed a fund-raising invitation for an event next month in New Jersey to benefit him and his fellow freshman Democrats in the state’s delegation.

“These frontline members are facing incredibly difficult re-election campaigns and are a critical piece of the puzzle as we work to protect our majority in the House,” the invitation said.

Mr. Van Drew may already have Democratic challenger. Brigid Harrison, a politics professor at Montclair State University, had been publicly signaling that she was considering a primary challenge to Mr. Van Drew. Already, she has met with many of the county Democratic leaders in the district, as well as Stephen M. Sweeney, the powerful State Senate president.

Now, she says an announcement about her candidacy as a Democrat is imminent.

“At the end of the day, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, what you don’t like is a traitor,” Ms. Harrison said in an interview. “So now, in addition to prioritizing his political career over the direction of the country, Congressman Van Drew is also a traitor to his voters.”

Mr. Van Drew has long had a difficult relationship with many Democrats in his home state, based in part on his support for gun rights. But during his years in the state legislature, he was an important Democratic vote for the southern block of the state, so he was largely spared from intraparty threats.

Still, once he was elected to Congress, Mr. Van Drew began to stray more visibly from the state delegation. He skipped a delegation meeting in Washington with Gov. Philip D. Murphy, the lone lawmaker from New Jersey’s 13 Democratic representatives and senators to do so.

And since he has been publicly indicating he will not vote for impeachment, party leaders in New Jersey have intensified their opposition. Mr. Van Drew had reportedly sought a letter of support from Democratic county leaders to help prop him up after his impeachment vote, but was denied.

Instead, Mr. Suleiman, the powerful Atlantic County chairman, sent the stern letter to Mr. Van Drew.

“Atlantic County Democrats have a tough time as it is facing 100 years of ‘Boardwalk Empire;’ we cannot afford to have Democrats sit on their hands in a presidential year when we usually perform well,” he wrote in a letter first obtained by The New Jersey Globe.

The drop-off in support from party leaders also comes after Mr. Van Drew failed to deliver legislative victories in his district last month. A slate that was publicly called “Team Van Drew” lost all three of its legislative seats, one of the few red-to-blue flips in the New Jersey off-year elections.

Mr. Van Drew would hardly be the first political moderate to change parties before what could be a difficult election. In December 2009, then-Representative Parker Griffith of Alabama, a freshman who was elected as a Democrat, became a Republican. But Mr. Griffith, with no Republican president in office to vouch for him, lost his primary the next year.

Jonathan Martin reported from Washington, and Nicholas Corasaniti from New York.

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The Breach Widens as Congress Nears a Partisan Impeachment

Westlake Legal Group 13dc-assess1-facebookJumbo The Breach Widens as Congress Nears a Partisan Impeachment United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Sensenbrenner, F James Jr Republican Party Nadler, Jerrold impeachment House Committee on the Judiciary Democratic Party

WASHINGTON — It was the rarest of moments in the nation’s capital, a seemingly sincere attempt at persuasion across the partisan breach by the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee on the eve of the panel’s vote to impeach President Trump.

“I know this moment must be difficult, but you still have a choice,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York told his Republican colleagues at the start of more than 17 hours of debate on whether to remove Mr. Trump from office. “I hope that we are able to work together to hold this president — or any president — accountable for breaking his most basic obligations to the country and to its citizens.”

A short time later, the former Republican chairman of the committee responded with a plea to Democrats to abandon impeachment: “Put aside your partisan politics,” Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin implored, “because the future of our country and the viability of our Constitution as the framers decided it, are at stake.”

But the appeals to rise above the tribalism of the moment from the two veteran lawmakers fell on deaf ears. They persuaded no one, and only served to contrast with the rancorous, sometimes personally vindictive debate that unfolded over the next two days in the Ways and Means Committee Room not far from the Capitol.

This was the very divisive impeachment debate that Democrats had always hoped to avoid.

In March, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her new Democratic majority that barring “something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should” try to impeach Mr. Trump. “It divides the country,” she said then. “And he’s just not worth it.”

But now, less than three months after the allegations in a whistle-blower complaint catapulted Democrats into an investigation of whether the president pressured Ukraine for political gain, the country is exactly where Ms. Pelosi worried it would be — on the brink of an intensely partisan impeachment with deep consequences for both parties and the country.

When she gave the green light for impeachment articles to be drafted this month, Ms. Pelosi said, “the president leaves us no choice but to act,” arguing that to do nothing in the face of Mr. Trump’s transgressions would invite lasting damage to the Constitution and the institutions of government.

But by Friday morning, as the committee formally paved the way for the House to impeach Mr. Trump next week, both sides seemed to sense that political vandalism had already taken place. Representative Mike Johnson, Republican of Louisiana, predicted “irreparable damage to our country” and closed his final argument with a lament: “God help us.”

It wasn’t just that the committee eventually voted to approve two articles of impeachment, charging Mr. Trump with abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress. Throughout the committee’s debate, the lawmakers from the two parties couldn’t even agree on a basic set of facts in front of them.

They called each other liars and demagogues and accused each other of being desperate and unfair. At one point, Republicans all but abandoned their pursuit of trying to persuade their Democratic colleagues, instead making a motion to strike the most critical lines out of the articles — essentially taking the “impeach” out of impeachment.

“It is silly,” Mr. Nadler complained about the proposed amendment not long before his Democratic majority rejected it on a 23-17 vote, the same party-line margin that emerged throughout the day, time after time, no matter the argument or the issue.

Lawmakers in both parties appeared to feel the weight of history as they delivered impassioned arguments over and over again, in five-minute chunks, alternating between Democrats and Republicans well into the night on Wednesday, and again on Thursday.

But if the passion was similar, the substance was not. Even for members of a profession who are used to talking past each other, it was striking how unwilling both Republicans and Democrats on the committee were to concede even an inch to the other side.

“Ukraine was not aware of the aid,” Mr. Johnson insisted Thursday, referring to the $391 million in security assistance that Mr. Trump had ordered withheld. If they didn’t know the money had been frozen, he explained, Ukraine couldn’t have been on the receiving end of a pressure campaign by the president.

When it was his turn, Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, asserted exactly the opposite, alluding to email evidence and testimony that disproved Mr. Johnson’s argument. “They knew it on July the 25th,” Mr. Cohen said of the Ukranians. “There were communications from the embassy that have been released that they knew the aid was being held up. They knew it was being held up.”

It was an example of the different impeachment realities that the two parties are living in. But it was hardly the only one.

Representative Hank Johnson, Democrat of Georgia, described Mr. Trump’s July 25 call with the President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine one way, saying it “shows that the president tried to get President Zelensky to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.” His Republican colleague, Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, saw it differently: “We saw the call transcript, and there is no conditionality.”

And after Representative Andy Biggs, Republican of Arizona, said it was “clear” that Mr. Trump cared about rooting out corruption in Ukraine, Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California, scoffed: “The president never brings up corruption.”

As the skies darkened outside and the clock ticked toward midnight on Thursday, both sides appeared to grow weary of the verbal combat.

“Republican colleagues are working overtime to try to convince us that we didn’t see what we saw with our own eyes and we didn’t hear what we heard with our own ears,” complained Representative Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas.

Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel, had a more colorful way of expressing his frustration after being accused of trying to “muddy the waters” with fuzzy facts and questionable interpretations.

“If this was a muddying the waters, y’all are an E.P.A. hazardous waste site at this point,” Mr. Collins snapped back.

After three-and-a-half hours of opening statements on Wednesday, a marathon session on Thursday seemed like it would never finish as both sides engaged in a kind of mutually assured destruction — refusing to be the ones to call it quits first.

Determined to avoid the accusation that they shut down debate prematurely, Mr. Nadler gave every member who wanted it a chance to speak. Republicans, grumpy about a rumor circulating that their members wanted to leave early to attend the Congressional Ball at the White House that evening, refused to give Democrats the satisfaction of ending their speeches either.

The night finally ended with predictable rancor when Mr. Nadler abruptly called a recess right before taking a final vote, saying he wanted “the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days and to search their consciences.”

Instead, his decision — made without any warning and without the kind of bipartisan consultation that is common on the Judiciary Committee — added to the sense of mounting tension inside the grand room, where nerves were already frayed.

It was clear that despite Mr. Nadler’s advice, nothing had changed by 10 the next morning, when the weary committee members returned for a rare Friday session to take the party-line vote that had been a certainty all along.

Mr. Nadler moved swiftly to call for the final votes on the two articles of impeachment, and both passed with all 23 Democrats in favor of impeaching Mr. Trump and all 17 Republicans opposed.

In just 7 minutes, the work was over, and Mr. Nadler banged his gavel.

“Without objection,” he said, as some Republicans in the room scowled, “this meeting is adjourned.”

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