What Now?!—December 8, 2019

New York Times: “President Trump’s re-election campaign has run menacing and misleading ads this fall accusing Joe Biden of corrupt dealings with Ukraine. Republicans in Congress are scrutinizing Mr. Biden’s son, pressing the State and Treasury Departments for information about his work for a Ukrainian energy company. The president himself has unleashed a stream of unfounded accusations against the Bidens and pushed for them to appear at a potential impeachment trial in the Senate.”

“As Mr. Trump faces impeachment for allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate Mr. Biden, he and his allies are now turning those same claims about Mr. Biden and his son into a key element of their defense. And they plan to continue to hammer at the Bidens’ Ukraine dealings as impeachment proceedings move into the new year.”

“There is no evidence that the elder Mr. Biden, while serving as vice president, improperly intervened in Ukraine to benefit his son. But the president’s advisers are betting that many voters will ignore the complexities of the allegations and absorb a simple message about a father using his influence to help his son.”

“The Supreme Court on Friday granted President Trump’s emergency request to temporarily block a congressional subpoena for his financial records from Deutsche Bank,” The Hill reports.

“Even as the House of Representatives began drafting charges against President Trump this week, his private attorney,who many believe is partly responsible for leading Trump on the path to his likely impeachment, made an audacious trip to the country at the center of the scandal,” the Washington Post reports.

“The purported purpose of the trip was to conduct interviews for a documentary on a right-wing media network. But Giuliani’s travel also appeared designed to send a broader and more brazen signal of the disregard that he and Trump have for the unfolding impeachment process.”

“Current and former officials in Washington expressed astonishment at how Giuliani — apparently on behalf of the president — seemed to be mocking impeachment investigators, if not the very idea that either he or his client should answer any articles of impeachment.”

“A national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence submitted additional classified evidence to House impeachment investigators about a phone call between Pence and Ukraine’s president, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff revealed Friday,” Politico reports.

“In a letter to Pence, Schiff asked the vice president to declassify supplemental testimony from the aide, Jennifer Williams, about Pence’s Sept. 18 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, arguing that there is no ‘legitimate basis’ to keep it secret.”

“President Trump has continued to use his personal cell phone to make calls, despite repeated warnings from his staff that the practice could leave him vulnerable to foreign surveillance,” multiple officials told CNN.

President Trump ordered a federal review of water efficiency standards in bathroom fixtures and complained that “people are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once” in homes with low-flow appliances that aim to conserve water, Bloomberg reports.

“An American graduate student who was held in an Iranian prison for more than three years was finally headed home Saturday after a prisoner swap between the two countries,” NBC News reports.

The daughter of Thomas Hofeller, a top Republican gerrymandering expert, says she will upload a tranche of her estranged late father’s files by Monday. Republicans had sought to keep these documents private in court.

Harry Enten: “The next 100 days will be critical to understanding whether President Donald Trump will win a second term in office. His approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success.”

“But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins.”

During a roundtable event on small business, President Trump expressed his dislike of energy efficient light bulbs, CNBC reports. Said Trump: “It doesn’t make you look as good. Being a vain person, that’s very important to me. It gives you an orange look, I don’t want an orange look.”

Former Conservative British Prime Minister John Major is urging voters to back candidates standing against the Tories in a bid to stop Boris Johnson winning a Commons majority, Politics Home reports.

A new BMG Research poll in the United Kingdom finds that 30% of the public say they will be “voting for the best-positioned candidate/party to keep out another candidate/party that I dislike” for the December 12th election. That is up markedly from 24% last week and around 22% near the start of the campaign.

In contrast, just 51% say they will vote for “the candidate/party I most prefer, regardless of how likely they are to win,” and 19 percent say they don’t know.

Mississippi state Rep. Ashley Henley (R) is asking the GOP-led Mississippi House to overturn the results of the election she narrowly lost to Hester Jackson-McCray (D), Mississippi Today reports. Jackson-McCray won the November 5 general election by 14 votes.

Henley claims that several findings of her ballot box examination show a failure “to adhere to proper election procedures to insure a fair and legitimate election” under state law.

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended an off-the-books sit-down meeting with a conservative group that included a small number of wealthy Republican donors, which was not on his official schedule while he was in London to attend this week’s NATO Summit,” CNN reports.

“The gathering, hosted by the Hamilton Society, conveniently took place in the hotel where Pompeo was staying, situated in a small events space on the second floor. Pompeo slipped into the meeting, without the State Department alerting the press traveling with him about where he was headed or who he was going to meet.”

“His grip on Republican senators has held in the lead-up to a historic impeachment trial. Members of the House have faced the prospect of retiring before going against him. And he frequently boasts about his strong approval ratings among Republican voters,” the New York Times reports.

“Yet for a party leader who inspires fear in Washington, President Trump has been bedeviled by governor’s races time and again, even after his aggressive campaigning has helped Republican candidates win.”

“Unable to modulate his excitement for other people’s political battles — and, according to advisers, not understanding the distinct incentives for governors who run their own states and senators who have to work with him in Washington — Mr. Trump has plunged headfirst into contests that have done little but expose his own political vulnerabilities.”

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

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