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Political Wire logo Giuliani’s Dealings with Associates Probed
Giuliani Pressed for Turkish Prisoner Swap
Ex-Trump Aide Will Describe ‘Shadow’ Policy on Ukraine
Sondland to Testify Next Week
Senior Pompeo Aide Resigns In Protest
Envoy to Ukraine Removed After Pushback on Giuliani

Turkey Invades Syria and Republicans Condemn Trump for Enabling It

It took about a day after Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was leaving northern Syria for Turkey to invade. Turkey's intention is undoubtedly to kill or arrest as many Kurdish fighters as it can, even though they fought on the U.S. side there and helped wipe out ISIS. Turkey is worried about the Kurds because they want to create an independent Kurdistan, part of whose territory would come out of present-day Turkey. For Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this is unacceptable.

Republican leaders are dismayed, both about Trump's comment that triggered the Turkish invasion and the invasion itself. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said: "A Turkish military advance into Syria threatens to halt momentum against ISIS, directly assaults our SDF partners, and could give the likes of al-Qaeda and Iran new footholds in the region." Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the #3 House Republican, said: "Impossible to understand why Donald Trump is leaving America's allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS." Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) said: "Just as the Kurds had our backs against ISIS, we must have theirs. " Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) earlier criticized Trump's decision and yesterday said: "Today, we are seeing the consequences of that terrible decision. If the reports of Turkish strikes in Syria are accurate, I fear our allies the Kurds could be slaughtered." Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called Trump's decision "morally repugnant."

The $64,000 question is whether the Republicans will do anything except talk. They could introduce a motion to censure Trump, for example. But don't count on it.

One thing that could move Republican leaders to do, well, something, is the condemnation of Trump coming from evangelical leaders who fear that Turkey's invasion of Syria will be the end of religious freedom for Christians living in the country. Franklin Graham said: "Pray for the Christians who the Kurds have been protecting." Tony Perkins said: "Turkey's imminent incursion into northeast Syria [has] potentially grave implications for safety of religious and ethnic communities..." (V)

Graham Warns Pelosi that the Senate Won't Impeach Trump

The Hill has a story with the headline: "Graham tells Pelosi GOP won't impeach Trump over Ukraine call":

The Hill

It goes on to say that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is sending Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a letter warning that "Senate Republicans won't impeach President Trump over his call with Ukraine." That is absolutely correct. Trump could take an Uzi and mow down 100 people on Fifth Avenue in cold blood and Senate Republicans wouldn't impeach Trump. They don't have that power. While many Americans don't know what impeachment entails, a newspaper whose reason for existence is covering Congress ought to know the difference between impeachment and conviction. Pollsters know that many people don't know what "impeachment" is, so they are starting to ask: "Do you think President Trump should be impeached and removed from office?" to make it clear (see below for one such poll).

That said, Graham is trying to get back in Trump's good graces after accidentally pointing out that letting Turkey slaughter America's Kurdish allies in Syria is maybe not a good idea. The thought is that hopefully Pelosi will read the letter and then just forget all that impeachment nonsense. Probably not, but since the real intended recipient of the letter is Trump, not Pelosi, it is definitely worth sending. Graham is trying to round up all the Senate Republicans to sign it, but many of them are trying to keep a low profile right now (meaning they are all but cowering under their desks).

Graham, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is planning to invite Trump's TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani to testify before his committee. It's probably not a good idea, since Giuliani is a loose cannon and every time he opens his mouth, he admits things that Trump is trying to deny. But then again, even though millions of people will watch the hearing, Graham is really aiming at an audience of one.

Another problem with having Giuliani testify before a Senate committee is that after that has been done, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is certain to subpoena him to testify before his committee as well. Once Giuliani has gone before the Senate, no claim of attorney-client privilege, executive privilege, or any kind of privilege stands any chance of being accepted by any court. (V)

House Democrats Are Planning Subpoenas

When White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent Nancy Pelosi and three House committee chairmen a blistering letter saying the White House was going to stonewall the House's impeachment inquiry, the gauntlet was thrown down. From that moment, it was clear what was going to happen next, and it is about to happen. The House will issue formal subpoenas to witnesses and also for documents. Failure to obey a subpoena will be followed by a court filing. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to decide if Congress needs to get permission from the president to investigate the possibility of impeaching the president.

One thing that might happen before the subpoenas go out, however, is for the House to hold a formal vote on starting an impeachment inquiry. That would make it unambiguous to the Supreme Court that the subpoenas are related to a power that the Constitution unequivocally assigns to Congress: impeaching the president. Any administration arguments that Congress has no business issuing subpoenas would then be laughed out of court. The downside of holding the vote is that representatives from red districts would then either have to break with the party or be on record as supporting an impeachment inquiry.

A key issue here is how long everything will take. If the House issues subpoenas and no one shows up, it could take months to have the Supreme Court make a decision. Trump will do everything he can to slow down the process and try to make any Supreme Court decisions come after the 2020 election. The Democrats will do everything they can to prevent that. It will be a fight to the death. (V)

Biden Calls on House to Impeach Trump

Joe Biden is deeply involved in Whistleblowergate, whether he likes it or not. It was Donald Trump's attempt to get Ukraine's president to dig up dirt on the former veep that started the whole thing. Now, for the first time, Biden has called on the House to impeach Trump. In a speech in New Hampshire, Biden sharply criticized Trump for asking other nations to get involved in U.S. politics and told a crowd of supporters "he should be impeached."

Naturally, Trump responded almost immediately, sending out this tweet:

The part about Biden ripping off countries is totally fabricated, as are so many of Trump's tweets. Trump keeps making up lies because his supporters believe every word he says. (V)

CBS Has Published a Memo the Whistleblower Wrote the Day after the Call

On July 26, the day after Donald Trump called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure him into investigating Hunter Biden, a government official who listened in on the call was so shaken by it that he turned to a trusted colleague to talk about it. The colleague wrote a memo that CBS News has now published in full. The memo writer later went to the IC inspector general and became the whistleblower.

The official who listened to the call said it was "crazy," "frightening," and "completely lacking in substance related to national security." The official said that White House lawyers were already in the loop because he was convinced the president had committed a crime. He also said that Trump asked Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani and AG William Barr.

While the memo doesn't have any new revelations, it does tighten the noose a bit tighter around Trump's neck and provides more context to the whistleblower's official complaint. In short, the day after the call, someone who heard it in real time was convinced that the President had committed a crime, so he reached out to a colleague for advice. That colleague immediately wrote down what he heard and later blew the whistle by filing a formal complaint with the IC inspector general. If it turns out to be true that the process was initiated by someone who was listening in to the call, not just a random CIA employee with a grudge against Trump, the case for impeachment becomes even stronger. (V)

Sanders Is Scaling Back His Campaigning

In the aftermath of a heart attack, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has announced that he is going to slow down a bit. No more five or six events a day, sometimes in multiple states. That is surely good for Sanders' health, but is already bringing up questions of whether he is fit enough to take on the most stressful job in the entire world.

It didn't take long for Sanders' campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, to sense that the Senator's announcement wasn't going over well. So, he said: "Instead of a breakneck series of events that lap the field, we are going to keep a marathoner's pace that still manages to outrun everyone else." What does that mean in practice? Well, for instance, he is going to skip CNN's LGBTQ town hall today. Will that make a good impression on people for whom LGBTQ rights are a key issue? We doubt it.

The reality is that Sanders was already struggling to catch up to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has now passed him in almost every recent poll, and not going to important events like the LGBTQ town hall isn't going to help much. His base won't desert him, that's for sure, but progressive Democrats who were on the fence may now decide that Warren has a better chance of actually living long enough to serve 8 years. (V)

Biden Leads Warren in North Carolina

While black voters do not make up as large a percentage of the Democratic electorate in North Carolina as they do in South Carolina, it is still large enough to put Joe Biden well in the lead there. A new PPP poll has Biden way up. Here are the numbers:

Candidate Pct.
Joe Biden 39%
Elizabeth Warren 22%
Pete Buttigieg 9%
Bernie Sanders 6%
Andrew Yang 3%
Kamala Harris 3%
Cory Booker 2%
Julián Castro 1%
Beto O'Rourke 1%

Even though she trails Biden by double digits, the poll also has good news for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The North Carolina Democrats like her. Her favorable/unfavorable ratio is 69%/9%. Her problem is that Biden is at 84%/6%. But this suggests that if Biden falters, Warren will quickly pick up much of his support.

Also noteworthy (again), is that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) get 5%—combined. It's pretty clear black voters don't buy into identity politics nearly as much as white liberals.

PPP also matched up Trump against the top Democrats. Biden, Warren, and Sanders all beat him, by margins of 5, 3, and 3 points, respectively. North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, is going to be a major battleground in the general election and the presidential race could easily spill over to the Senate race, in which Sen. Thom Tilliis (R-NC) is going for a second term. Tillis could be in for a real fight, since only 22% of the voters approve of the job he is doing. And before he even faces the Democrat, he has to beat back an independently wealthy Republican challenger, Garland Tucker. (V)

Impeachment Is Helping the Republicans

Yup. The impeachment process in the House is helping the Republicans, in a way. They were having trouble finding candidates in key House districts, but now potential candidates who were on the fence are jumping in. In part that is because small GOP donors are stepping up and sending money over to the Party. That makes it easier for NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) to convince reluctant candidates to take the plunge.

It is not an accident that small donors are getting out their credit cards and hesitant candidates are getting off the fence. Outside GOP groups have been running a TV ad blitz in 20 key districts Trump won. The campaign is costing more than $10 million. But if it gets candidates in the race for those seats, it will have been money well spent. In all, there are 31 districts Trump won that now have a Democratic representative.

The problem with TV ads, though, is that Democrats also watch TV and when they see an ad attacking Nancy Pelosi and praising Trump, they get out their credit cards as well. About two dozen of the red-district first-termers have over $900,000 in the bank, so the Republicans have some catch-up to do. (V)

Manufacturing Sector Is Officially in Recession

Donald Trump swept the Midwest in 2016 by promising to revitalize the area's manufacturing sector. He didn't do it. Manufacturing nationally has now had two straight quarters of diminished output, which is the most common definition of a recession. The danger for Trump is that the sector could pull the rest of the economy down with it.

Another widely followed index is the one obtained by querying purchasing managers to ask what they are buying. The September value was the lowest since June 2009. Production, inventories, and new orders are all falling.

Especially grim for Trump is that while manufacturing is only 10% of the economy, much of it is centered in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, key states Trump needs to win. Also, when fewer things are manufactured, there is less need for them to be warehoused and transported, which then hits those sectors. In this way, problems in one sector can spread to others. The laid-off workers then have less money to spend, which hits the retail sector, and so on.

While Trump can tell everyone that the economy is booming, a worker who has been laid off is not likely to wait for the next Bureau of Labor Statistics report to get a good feeling of how the economy is doing. And for better or worse, when the economy is doing well, the president gets the credit, but when it is not doing so well the president gets the blame. (V)

Republicans Are Trying to Get the Amish to Vote

Donald Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by 45,000 votes. About 75,000 Amish people live in Pennsylvania and almost none of them voted. Their religion doesn't prohibit voting, but they are not terribly engaged in politics since most of them don't have a television and few are connected to the Internet. Interestingly enough, many Amish farms are modern and high tech. The Amish are by no means Luddites. They just want to live their lives as they wish and not be connected to the outside world.

In theory at least, if they were to vote, it might be for the Republicans since they oppose abortion and same-sex marriage. But they also support separation of church and state, a barrier many Republicans want to tear down.

It probably will go nowhere, but Republicans are making a big effort now to get Amish people registered and have them vote for Trump. Lancaster County, where many Amish live, is awash in billboards and newspaper ads encouraging people to register and vote for the Donald. A group of Republican operatives has set up Amish PAC to fund and coordinate the GOP's efforts. Here is one of its signs:

Amish billboard

Getting many Amish to vote is a long shot, but in a close election, every vote could matter. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Oct09 Impeachment Battle Lines Harden
Oct09 U.S. to Pull Out of Another Treaty
Oct09 A Little Grift, Campaign-Style
Oct09 Let's Just Start Calling it the Trump National Committee
Oct09 Warren Learning About Life with a Big Target on Your Back
Oct09 Polling Update
Oct09 Almost Half the Country Wants Trump Removed from Office
Oct09 Fifth Debate Details Are Set
Oct08 Tail, Meet Dog
Oct08 China to Trump: Your 2020 Campaign Is None of Our Business
Oct08 Judge to Trump: Fork 'em Over
Oct08 Barbara Res Predicts Trump Will Resign
Oct08 Brace Yourself for 2020, Part I: Trump vs. Biden
Oct08 Brace Yourself for 2020, Part II: Ratfu**ing
Oct08 Warren Hires Texas State Campaign Director
Oct07 There Are Now Multiple Whistleblowers
Oct07 Trump Blames Perry for Call to Zelensky
Oct07 Most Republicans Still Back Trump
Oct07 The DNC Is Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Oct07 Is Dirt a Thing of Value?
Oct07 Will Trump Be Done in by a Lack of Toadies?
Oct07 Biden Donors Are Worried
Oct07 Democrats Are Worried about Who Tulsi Gabbard Will Attack Next
Oct07 Sanders Had a Heart Attack
Oct07 The Senate Races Are Becoming Nationalized
Oct07 Make Sure to Register
Oct06 Sunday Mailbag
Oct05 Saturday Q&A
Oct04 Digging the Hole Deeper, Part I: Ukraine
Oct04 Digging the Hole Deeper, Part II: China
Oct04 Digging the Hole Deeper, Part III: The IRS
Oct04 Let the Table Pounding Begin
Oct04 Biden's Q3 Fundraising Is Underwhelming
Oct04 Warren Making Inroads with Black Voters
Oct04 Lieberman Running for Senate
Oct03 House Democrats Will Subpoena White House Documents
Oct03 Pence Was Involved in Pressuring Ukraine
Oct03 State Dept. Inspector General Spoke to Congressional Committees Yesterday
Oct03 Support for Impeachment Is Growing
Oct03 Trump's Impeachment Inquiry Will Be More Divisive than Nixon's or Clinton's
Oct03 Justice Dept. Tells White House to Preserve Records
Oct03 Poll: Only 40% of Republicans Believe Trump Discussed Biden with Ukrainian Leader
Oct03 Judge Upholds Iowa's Voter ID Law
Oct03 Sanders Has Heart Stents Inserted
Oct03 Yang Pulled in $10 Million in the Third Quarter
Oct02 Pompeo to Democrats: Shove It
Oct02 A Preview of What's to Come?
Oct02 How Might Senators Vote in an Impeachment Trial?
Oct02 Trump Administration Has a Good Day in Court
Oct02 The Farmers Are Restless