Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the Washington Post she’s not focused on impeaching President Trump.
Said Pelosi: “I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”
I am not at all concerned about Pelosi’s statement. It is similar to what she has said before. But if Congressional investigations or the Mueller investigation find criminal or impeachable offenses, her tune will change.
“Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), one of the most outspoken advocates of the #MeToo movement who has made fighting sexual misconduct a centerpiece of her presidential campaign, spent last summer pressing legislators to update Congress’ ‘broken’ system of handling sexual harassment,” Politico reports.
“At the same time, a mid-20s female aide to Gillibrand resigned in protest over the handling of her sexual harassment complaint by Gillibrand’s office, and criticized the senator for failing to abide by her own public standards. In July, the female staffer alleged one of Gillibrand’s closest aides — who was a decade her senior and married — repeatedly made unwelcome advances after the senator had told him he would be promoted to a supervisory role over her. She also said the male aide regularly made crude, misogynistic remarks in the office about his female colleagues and potential female hires.”
New York Times: “As the Democratic presidential field takes final shape, Mr. O’Rourke seems inclined to be in this, according to interviews with people who have spoken to him and other top Democrats. He says he has made a decision about whether to run and could announce it as early as this week, unsettling prospective rival campaigns that consider Mr. O’Rourke a credible threat.”
“Yet in the four months since his Senate loss, Mr. O’Rourke, 46, has done little to demonstrate the kind of intensive preparation — building national political infrastructure, projecting a signature policy rationale for a candidacy — typically associated with a top-flight presidential campaign.”
“There has been no flirtation tour in Iowa, no trip to New Hampshire since his college years as an Ivy League rower. Mr. O’Rourke had no traditional campaign-in-waiting at the ready after the midterms — the sort of operation available to a more experienced holdout like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. or carefully built over months by first-time presidential candidates like Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.”
And, as if on cue, word comes that Beto O’Rourke is headed to Iowa this weekend, fueling speculation that the former Texas congressman and fundraising wunderkind will soon officially enter the packed Democratic primary race, CNBC reports.
“After Steve Bannon left the White House in 2017, he tried to turn his bombastic nationalism into a global movement and let a progressive documentarian follow him for more than a year — Arizona to Italy, Texas to France. The result is The Brink, a fly-on-the-wall, cinéma vérité film coming to theaters March 29, and being screened in D.C. on Tuesday,” Axios reports.
Despite Bannon’s extensive cooperation, the Washington Post says the film is ultimately a damaging portrait: “A number of moments seem to make the argument that Bannon’s populism is a pose.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May abandoned plans to travel to Brussels in a last-gasp bid to save her Brexit deal as negotiations with the EU ground to a halt, the Daily Express reports.
Axios: “May faces a substantial loss if she presents to members of Parliament a deal that’s largely unchanged for Tuesday’s ‘meaningful vote.’ She’s been trying to achieve changes to the Brexit agreement with the European Union to avoid Britain remaining indefinitely in a customs union and to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland — known as the ‘Irish backstop.’ However, the E.U. is reluctant to change the existing deal. Now, May’s under pressure to delay Tuesday’s vote. Talks were expected to resume Monday. Britain is due to leave the E.U. on March 29.”
“Republicans are going down to the wire as they try to find a way out of their showdown with President Trump over his national emergency to build a wall on the Mexican border,” The Hill reports. “Republicans have just days to find a more palatable solution than the House-passed resolution blocking Trump’s actions, which is expected to come up for a vote by Friday.”
“They are looking for ways that Trump could win more wall funding without using the emergency declaration, a controversial move that has caused angst on Capitol Hill.”
A federal court of appeals took the first step in unsealing documents that could reveal evidence of an international sex trafficking operation allegedly run by multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein and his former partner, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, the Miami Herald reports.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is joining with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other congressional leaders to extend a rare bipartisan invitation to NATO’s secretary general to address a joint session of Congress next month, the Washington Post reports.
“A prominent conservative group is thrusting itself into the Democratic primary with a TV ad assailing Beto O’Rourke — a move that comes as Republicans consider a broader campaign to meddle in the opposing party’s contest to take on President Trump,” Politico reports.
“The anti-tax Club for Growth is expected to begin airing a two-minute commercial in Iowa this week aimed at dampening liberal support for O’Rourke, who’s expected to enter the race any day. The spot paints the former Texas congressman as a politician dripping with ‘white male privilege’ who’s undeserving of the comparisons he’s drawing to Barack Obama.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) said that special counsel Robert Mueller was making a “mistake” by not demanding that President Trump testify as part of his investigation, the Washington Post reports.
Said Schiff: “I do think ultimately it’s a mistake because probably the best way to get the truth would be to put the president under oath. As he’s made plain in the past, he feels it’s perfectly fine to lie to the public. After all, he has said, ‘It’s not like I’m talking before a magistrate.’ Well, maybe he should talk before a magistrate.”
“President Trump and his advisers are launching a behemoth 2020 campaign operation combining his raw populist message from 2016 with a massive data-gathering and get-out-the-vote push aimed at dwarfing any previous presidential reelection effort, according to campaign advisers, White House aides,” the Washington Post reports.
“Trump’s advisers also believe the Democratic Party’s recent shift to the left on a host of issues, from the push for Medicare-for-all to a proposed Green New Deal, will help the president and other Republicans focus on a Trumpian message of strong economic growth, nationalist border restrictions and ‘America First’ trade policies.”
“The president’s strategy, however, relies on a risky and relatively narrow path for victory, hinged on demonizing Trump’s eventual opponent and juicing turnout among his most avid supporters in Florida, Pennsylvania and the Upper Midwest — the same areas that won him the White House but where his popularity has waned since he was elected.”
Keith Davidson, the former attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, detailed his role in negotiating hush-money deals to keep both women quiet about alleged affairs with Donald Trump, telling ABC News that a $130,000 payment to Daniels was “done for political reasons.”
Said Davidson: “You cannot talk about Stormy Daniels and the settlement without talking about Access Hollywood. They come hand in hand. It was clear to me that the Access Hollywood tape was the motivating factor in this case resolving.”
New York Times: “For now … the administration’s favors keep on coming: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just announced a stop in Israel on a Middle East swing beginning March 18. The political backup is almost certain to reach its peak a few days later, when Mr. Netanyahu is expected to get an Oval Office meeting, if not a formal White House dinner, during the yearly gathering of Aipac, the powerful pro-Israel lobby.”
“It’s gotten to the point that analysts tracking the American assistance to Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign have taken to guessing what Mr. Trump might toss his way next: merely more plaudits, or perhaps a meatier bone, like endorsing Republican-sponsored legislation to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”