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What Now?!—December 2, 2019

“Members of the House Intelligence Committee will begin reviewing a report Monday on the panel’s investigation of President Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine to investigate his Democratic adversaries, a crucial step in the House’s fast-moving impeachment inquiry,” Politico reports.

“Lawmakers on the panel will get a 24-hour review period… On Tuesday, the panel is expected to approve the findings — likely on a party-line vote — teeing it up for consideration by the Judiciary Committee, which is in turn expected to draft and consider articles of impeachment in the coming weeks.”

“President Trump has until Dec. 6 to decide whether his legal team will participate in the impeachment proceedings, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Friday, marking Democratic lawmakers’ latest effort to solicit White House involvement in an inquiry with which the administration has declined to cooperate,” the Wall Street Journalreports.

“Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a letter Friday to Mr. Trump outlining the next step in the impeachment process, with Mr. Nadler’s committee due to receive a report on evidence and testimony collected so far by the House Intelligence Committee.”

“That report is scheduled to be delivered soon after Congress resumes following its Thanksgiving recess. In anticipation of lawmakers’ return to Capitol Hill, Mr. Nadler wants to know if the president will exercise the rights afforded to him under the House rules governing the impeachment process.”

“As the impeachment inquiry into President Trump moves to the House Judiciary Committee, Republicans signaled Sunday that they will mount an aggressive campaign to delegitimize the process, accusing Democrats of rushing the proceedings as the White House debates whether to participate at all,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democrats on the Judiciary Committee said Sunday that Republicans were trying to distract from Trump’s wrongdoing by raising objections to the impeachment process without challenging the facts that have been gathered.”

The Hill: “Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) is set to retire in approximately a month, creating an opening atop the Senate Ethics Committee, a behind-the-scenes panel responsible for enforcing standards of behavior for senators and their staffs and investigating potential violations of federal law or the Senate’s rules.”

“But GOP senators who spoke with The Hill, including current members of the committee, had a nearly universal response when asked if they wanted to take over the Ethics Committee: Thanks, but no thanks.”

That is because no Republican alive today has ethics. Or any morality or integrity.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley predicted on CNN that public support for President Trump will collapse as House Democrats continue their impeachment inquiry against him.

Said Brinkley: “It just tells you what deep trouble Donald Trump is in. I mean, when you have 50% of the country wanting you not just impeached but removed from office, and the game hasn’t even gotten fast yet.”

He added: “I think once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he’s wearing the ‘I’ on his chest, you’re going to see that movement grow even more.”

New York Times: “The case of the president and a commando accused of war crimes offers a lesson in how Mr. Trump presides over the armed forces three years after taking office. While he boasts of supporting the military, he has come to distrust the generals and admirals who run it. Rather than accept information from his own government, he responds to television reports that grab his interest. Warned against crossing lines, he bulldozes past precedent and norms.”

“As a result, the president finds himself more removed than ever from a disenchanted military command, adding the armed forces to the institutions under his authority that he has feuded with, along with the intelligence community, law enforcement agencies and diplomatic corps.”

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee will be the first person he calls to testify before his panel as impeachment hearings proceed.

Said Collins: “My first and foremost witness is Adam Schiff.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) argued in a testy exchange on Meet the Pressthat he believes “both Russia and Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election,” claiming without evidence that former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko “actively worked” for Hillary Clinton.

Frank Wuco, a former conservative talk radio host and naval intelligence officer who suggested dropping nuclear bombs on Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, now works on arms control issues at the State Department, the Washington Post reports.

Wuco also promoted far-right conspiracy theories including “debunked claims that former president Barack Obama was not born in the United States, former CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam, former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. had been a member of the Black Panthers and former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Washington Post: “Donald Trump just can’t seem to stay away from British politics. He’s fired off comments on topics including Brexit, his low opinion of a British ambassador, and how his Trump-branded golf course in Scotland ‘furthers U.K. relations.’”

Jonathan Swan: “This week’s NATO meeting in London will be “a celebratory leaders’ meeting,” according to a White House talking point ahead of President Trump’s trip. But European officials aren’t betting on it, and Trump has been privately complaining about France’s President Emmanuel Macron.”

“Three senior administration officials told me Trump has been deeply annoyed by Macron, who recently told The Economist that ‘what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO’ and that the United States under Trump’s leadership appears to be ‘turning its back on us.’”

Said one official: “He’s been down on Macron for a long while.”

“President Trump has vowed to lower the cost of prescription drugs. A Senate committee has approved a bipartisan bill to do just that. And the plan is going nowhere fast,” Politico reports.

“With Democrats in control of the House, the GOP-controlled Senate has shifted virtually its entire focus to confirming Trump’s judicial nominees where bipartisan votes aren’t needed. And heading into an election year, McConnell is loath to bring up issues that divide his caucus or risk alienating powerful industry groups. Legislative activity will only decline further if and when the Senate holds an impeachment trial that will further polarize the Capitol.”

“Iran is experiencing its deadliest political unrest since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, with at least 180 people killed — and possibly hundreds more — as angry protests have been smothered in a government crackdown of unbridled force,” the New York Times reports.

“It began two weeks ago with an abrupt increase of at least 50 percent in gasoline prices. Within 72 hours, outraged demonstrators in cities large and small were calling for an end to the Islamic Republic’s government and the downfall of its leaders.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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