Politico Calls Out 2020 Dems For Trillion-Dollar Plans

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell discusses the 2020 Democrats’ high-cost plans.

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Are There Limits To Party Loyalty? GOP Members Nervous About Trump-Ukraine Scandal

When the going gets tough for President Donald Trump, Republicans have typically rallied behind him. Through controversial policies, lawsuits and a 22-month special counsel investigation, most Republicans have been quick to side with their party's standard-bearer.

The GOP faced another test this week after a whistleblower raised concerns about presidential abuses of power and the White House released the text of a phone call revealed that President Trump repeatedly asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a 2020 political rival. The saga prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to announce the start of a formal impeachment inquiry, a move supported almost unanimously by the Democratic majority in Congress.

Many Republicans offered a full-throated defense of the president and attacked Democrats' renewed push for impeachment. Others dismissed the whistleblower complaint as a "nothing-burger," as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham did. However, a handful of senators and representatives spoke out against Trump describing his behavior as "disturbing" and potentially "really, really bad."

Several news outlets reported that the dissent represented a crack in the dam of Republican support for Trump and signaled a sea change.

A Morning Consult poll showed Republican support for impeachment doubled from 5% to 10% between last week and when Speaker Pelosi officially endorsed the House inquiry. Still, fewer than half of Americans (43%) support impeachment, though a growing number have become less resistant to the idea, including Republicans.

According to GOP strategist Ford O'Connell, there has been no real lapse in Republican support for President Trump, but some politicians are reacting to the uncertainty of a 2020 election that promises to be "one of the nastiest and closest we've seen."

"No one knows how this is going to turn out and there's political risk for both sides," O'Connell said. For Republicans, the risk is that the whistleblower allegations and impeachment effort take hold and tank Trump's reelection along with any chance of a GOP majority. Democrats risk overpromising another bombshell scandal that fails to materialize or persuade voters outside their base.

"Depending on how far this goes, you're going to see people on both sides get nervous," O'Connell said. "And because we don't know where this is headed, people are now concerned about their own political livelihood."

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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‘Sick Man’: Trump Team’s Counter-Impeachment Strategy Comes Into Focus

The fight is on to sell a divided country on whether Donald Trump deserves to face an impeachment inquiry, with the president and his team aggressively trying to discredit the whistleblower who kicked it off and the House Democrats leading it.

Trump and his surrogates were taken aback immediately after Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday decided emerging details about Trump’s call with incoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy were so concerning that she had no choice but to launch an impeachment inquiry. Even into Thursday evening, team Trump lacked a clear strategy for countering Democrats’ charges of presidential corruption.

But by that evening, their plans started to emerge. And then by Friday morning, it was becoming clear: They would do what the president does best — go big, go bold and push all their chips to the center of the table.

“The Trump team is going to make the case that the Democrats are crying wolf once again — Mueller report, Kavanaugh, etc. — and that this is nothing more than a partisan exercise to appease a rabid base who just refuses to accept Trump as a legitimate president,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist, referring to former special counsel Robert S. Mueller and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The president and his team are betting more than simply clearing Trump’s name or avoiding a Senate trial. They are looking to use their emerging strategy to seize control of all three federal branches of government, the GOP strategist said.

“The Trump team is betting that if they are successful in making this case to persuadable voters that not only will Trump win reelection in 2020, but the Democrats’ miscalculation will put the House in play as well,” O’Connell said.

Read more from John T Bennett at Roll Call

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Ukraine Casts Shadow Over Biden Campaign: 'If You Are Elizabeth Warren, You Have To Be Giddy'

The Bidens’ history in Ukraine is getting another look in the aftermath of a whistleblower complaint accusing President Trump of using threats to cut off U.S. military aid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens and the son’s profitable business dealings in Ukraine.

Mr. Trump has launched a counteroffensive denying any quid pro quo. He said investigators would be better served looking into whether Mr. Biden, as vice president, sought the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor because he was looking into corruption at the country’s largest private gas company, Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board and reportedly raked in $50,000 per month.

Mr. Biden maintains the prosecutor lost his job because he dropped the ball when it came to combating Ukraine’s “cancer of corruption.” Mr. Biden last year boasted that his threat to withhold $1 billion in aid led to the prosecutor’s ultimate dismissal.

The political dust-up has created an opening for some of Mr. Biden’s rivals in the 2020 presidential primary. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has sprinted past Mr. Biden in early primary state polls, has made ferreting out corruption the centerpiece of her campaign.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican Party strategist with close ties to the White House, said the episode is playing in Ms. Warren’s favor.

“If you are Elizabeth Warren, you have to be giddy,” Mr. O’Connell said. “While defending him to the teeth, you’re hoping it sinks him.”

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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Democrats Pressed Ukrainians To Cooperate With Mueller investigation

President Trump, facing an impeachment inquiry for pressing Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, is not the first American official to encourage Ukrainians to help with a probe.

In May 2018, three Democratic senators wrote a letter to Ukraine’s prosecutor general — pushing the foreign office to cooperate with the Mueller investigation into Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“We are writing to express great concern about reports that your office has taken steps to impede cooperation with the investigation of United States Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” wrote Sens. Robert Menendez, Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy.

“If these reports are true, we strongly encourage you to reverse course and halt any efforts to impede cooperation with this important investigation,” added the senators from New Jersey, Illinois and Vermont.

The letter was written after a New York Times report revealed that Ukraine had frozen investigations into four open cases there, “thereby eliminating scope for cooperation with the Mueller probe into related issues.”

“As strong advocates for a robust and close relationship with Ukraine, we believe that our cooperation should extend to such legal matters, regardless of politics,” the senators stated.

As vice president in 2016, Biden reportedly threatened to freeze $1 billion of U.S. aid to Ukraine if the foreign leaders didn’t fire the nation’s top prosecutor. “Among those who had a stake in the outcome was Hunter Biden … who at the time was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general,” The New York Times reported.

The Democrats who are now trying to impeach Trump were the “first to open the door with Ukraine,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “Ukraine seems to be a one-stop-shop for everyone who wants to get political dirt on their opponents.”

Read more from Rick Sobey at the Boston Herald

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Impeachment Inquiry Announcement Against Trump Could Backfire

U.S. House leader dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, which some experts said could backfire and end up galvanizing support among Trump's base in the lead up to the 2020 elections.

Actions taken by the president "have seriously violated the Constitution," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday in a televised statement, accusing Trump of "betrayal of his oath of office" and "betrayal of our national security."

After months of flirting with the idea but stopping short of taking action, Pelosi's decision came as more than two-thirds of House Democrats push for an impeachment inquiry amid mounting pressures over alleged abuses of power of the president.

The action followed recent reports that Trump threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine in a bid to pressure Kiev to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival of Trump in the 2020 elections. Biden's son has had business dealings in the Ukraine.

Democrats said this was tantamount to betraying the nation's national security interests for the sake of Trump's own political gains, which they believe is an impeachable offense.

The White House on Tuesday dismissed the allegations, calling it business as usual among Democrats seeking to derail the president.

"The last time a president was impeached it backfired," Republican Strategist and TV news personality Ford O'Connell told Xinhua, referring to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, which was initiated in 1998.

"There's no public appetite for it," O'Connell said. "Only 37 percent of voters want Democrats to start impeachment proceedings."

"Initiating impeachment proceedings against President Trump remains a popular move among the Democratic base, but it won't necessarily help them win voters across the aisle," said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult's vice president, as quoted by POLITICO, a U.S. political publication.

O'Connell said "once the Mueller report turned out to be a dud, the Democratic leaders in Congress decided to investigate every possible allegation against Trump, without invoking impeachment." O'Connell was referring to the year-long report about possible collusion between Trump and Russia, which in the end failed to produce a smoking gun but cost U.S. taxpayers 32 million dollars.

O'Connell noted that when Republicans impeached Clinton, his approval ratings jumped 10 points in the aftermath.

Democrats were upset about the impeachment and turned out in the next election to protect their president, and experts said the same could happen with Republicans in 2020.

"Imagine what 10 points could do for Donald Trump?" O'Connell said.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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How Will A Progressive Agenda Affect The US?

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell discusses why Sen. Bernie Sanders’ and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposed wealth tax and healthcare initiatives will severely hurt the middle class.

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Trump, Biden Offer 2020 Preview As President’s Team Eager To Fan Flames

Has the 2020 general election already started? No, but it suddenly feels that way.

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden’s back-and-forth about which one might have abused his office over Ukraine is giving the world a preview of a possible future electoral brawl.

Trump and his team sense Biden is taking on water, with the newest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll showing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the lead in Iowa. That survey marks the first time since he entered the Democratic primary that Biden has not been in the lead in the first-to-vote state.

Sources said Monday the president and his campaign team want to keep the Ukraine brawl front and center, suggesting the accusations of corruption against Biden could damage the candidate Trump sees as his biggest threat.

That comes even as some previously reluctant Democrats warm to impeachment after the president appeared to admit to discussing Biden and his son in a July conversation with Ukraine’s newly elected leader. 

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said the immediate goal for Trump’s team was to “force the media and others to keep digging, which keeps the story alive.”

“The president knows that [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi isn’t going to impeach him on a whim,” O’Connell added. “Right now, there’s just not a political appetite in the country to impeach President Trump. … So he’s got a little wiggle room on this one.”

Read more from John T. Bennett at Roll Call

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AOC Lashes Out At Democrats' Failure To Impeach President Trump

GOP strategist Ford O'Connell and Democratic political analyst Robert Patillo debate.

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Trump Walks Tightrope On Gun Control

President Trump is stringing along the debate over gun control by keeping alive discussions on expanded background checks, but just barely. 

Senate negotiators initially expected Trump to signal his preferred approach to gun violence prevention by Sept. 13. Then they thought it would happen on Sept. 19.

As of Sunday, they’re still waiting.

The president has yet to indicate what gun control reforms, if any, he’s ready to enforce. Meanwhile, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been left in a state of limbo. 

The question of how to respond to gun violence is one of the toughest political tests of Trump’s presidency, one that could define his popularity in three key battleground states: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all leaned Democratic before the 2016 election, and each has large blocs of rural, gun-owning voters.

“It’s one of the biggest tightropes the president is walking,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist familiar with Trump’s political messaging operation.

“The question that the president is facing is, would adopting these new rules on background checks — how much that would help him in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Minnesota,” he said.

“Some argue that it could help him at the margins because we’re expecting an extremely close race. The question is, how many rural voters are turned off by this?” he added.

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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