Impeachment Split Clouds Democrats’ 2020 Hopes
It’s the divisive question House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been trying to keep at bay.
But now an intra-party debate over impeaching Donald Trump is roiling the Democrats’ leading 2020 presidential contenders.
Early front-runner Bernie Sanders warned that an impeachment battle would play into the president’s hands, a stance that puts him at odds with some other members of the party’s progressive wing, including rivals Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg have both deflected on the question when asked.
The split, which came into focus yesterday as Democrats grapple with how to respond to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, brings to the fore a long-simmering schism over whether a risky effort to expel Trump from office will distract from talking about the pocketbook issues voters care most about, Sahil Kapur and Laura Litvan write.
Pelosi — the de facto party standard-bearer until a nominee is christened — has been trying to keep a lid on impeachment talk in Congress, believing it would backfire.
It’s clear now that whether she’s successful depends on how the nascent campaigns of the Democratic presidential aspirants unfold. Pelosi could end up captaining a fight she never wanted.
Iran misfire | The U.S. decision to end all sanctions waivers for countries that import Iranian crude will upset buyers such as China and India. But as Glen Carey and Ladane Nasseri report, the pressure on Tehran isn’t reducing its support for Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen. While Saudi Arabia said it will mitigate any market impact by working to ensure adequate supplies, oil prices extended gains after leaping to a six-month high yesterday.
Inquiry goes global | Interpol has joined the investigation into the attacks in Sri Lanka as the death toll from Sunday’s blasts reached 321. The government blamed local jihadist group National Thowheed Jamath for the carnage and said its investigation was pointing to a global terror network, with attention focused on a second extremist group known as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen.
Fed nominee fail | Trump’s efforts to reshape the Federal Reserve — the subject of his repeated public criticism — are in deep trouble. He scrapped his plan to put Herman Cain on the board in the face of opposition from his own party. Now Democrats are urging Republicans to block a second pick, Stephen Moore, who faces allegations he owes more than $75,000 in taxes and was found in contempt of court for failing to pay alimony.
Playing defense | Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is on track to consolidate his grip on power in Sunday’s election if he can navigate the next few days without mishap. Last night he successfully fended off attacks on his track record on job creation, pensions, and containing Catalan separatists during the first televised debate. Tonight he returns to the studio for part two.
Foreign meddling | The leader of Libya’s internationally recognized government said foreign backers have been arming Khalifa Haftar since he launched an offensive to take the capital, Tripoli. While Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj declined to identify the countries, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia are among those that have provided weapons in the past to the warlord’s self-styled Libyan National Army.
What to Watch
- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting to keep her job as she faces renewed demands to stand down from grassroots Conservative Party activists and calls from parliamentary colleagues for her to resign. Talks between Labour and Conservative officials on Brexit are set to resume today.
- Today’s the deadline for the Internal Revenue Service to comply with House Democrats’ request for six years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns, part of a broader tug-of-war between the president and lawmakers over disclosure of Trump's personal financial records.
And finally ... The world’s largest democracy is at the heart of Facebook’s efforts to rebuild its battered credibility and fight fake news. But the social media giant is up against paid hacks and party zealots churning out propaganda throughout India. Together with Facebook’s automated filters, there are just seven tiny fact-checking firms on the front line analyzing news in 10 of India’s 23 official languages. And they're struggling to keep up.
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