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MORNING MESSAGE

Miles Mogulescu

Fighting Corruption Must Be Our Focus In 2020

Like pornography, corruption comes in hard-core and soft-core versions. Donald Trump’s record of self-dealing is the very definition of hard-core corruption. If it were porn, it would only be sold in a brown-paper bag. But many other Washington insiders, both Republicans and Democrats, engage in soft-core corruption which, despite its “swampy” ethical implications, they take for granted. They think it’s business as usual, even if voters think it smells. Current efforts to elevate Joe Biden to the 2020 presidential nomination are based on the big lie of his “electability.” But insisting on this after revelations of business dealings by his son in the Ukraine, while his father was charged as Vice President with rooting out corruption in that country show how Democratic insiders can be tone-deaf to voters’ concerns. Let’s be absolutely clear: there’s no false equivalency with Trump’s corrupt behavior, nor is there evidence of any crime. But there’s something “swampy” here. And with so many qualified Democrats in the field, why should the party favor any candidate with even a whiff of scandal to run against Trump?

Dems Set Up Constitutional Battle Over Impeachment

Dem leaders plot impeachment messaging war with Trump. Politico: “House Democrats are plotting an all-out offensive against President Donald Trump as they pursue an impeachment inquiry, announcing plans on Sunday to streamline their messaging operation and aid vulnerable lawmakers as they face potential blowback in their districts. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top deputies laid out the strategy during a private conference call Sunday afternoon. The plan reflects a deepening sentiment among Democrats that Trump’s latest scandal involving Ukraine could persuade the public to support impeachment. But it also underscores longstanding concerns that an impeachment push could jeopardize some of the toss-up seats in 2020 that helped the party win the majority last year. ‘I’m in Texas and they have a saying here: ‘Don’t Mess with Texas.’ Well, I say, ‘Don’t Mess with the Constitution, Mr. President,’ Pelosi told fellow Democrats, according to an aide on the call. Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, who leads House Democrats’ campaign arm, advised the caucus’ most vulnerable members to gauge support and test their message through polling in their respective districts — surveys that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would help fund, according to multiple people on the call. She also said the campaign arm could deploy digital ads in the future. Bustos also shared the results of the DCCC’s first poll focused on impeachment since Pelosi formalized an inquiry last week. The poll found that 54 percent of likely voters support Democrats’ inquiry.”

Impeachment Gains Momentum, Despite Recess

Despite recess, impeachment inquiry persists. NPR: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, now the lead lawmaker in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, says his panel will be working through the scheduled upcoming two-week congressional recess. ‘I can tell you it’s going to be a very busy couple of weeks ahead,’ Schiff told reporters. The chairman said the committee is scheduling hearings and witness interviews, as well as working on document requests and possible subpoenas. The Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight committees issued a joint subpoena on Friday for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to compel documents that the State Department has so far declined to turn over to Congress. The committees want State Department records of the president’s communications with Ukraine that are now the central focus of an impeachment investigation. ‘Your failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry,’ the chairmen of the three committees warned Pompeo in a letter. Pompeo is facing an Oct. 4 deadline. The committee says it will also take depositions over the course of the next two weeks from five State Department officials who have some knowledge of the events that transpired.”

Judge Blocks Plan To Detain Migrant Children

Judge blocks Trump administration plan to detain migrant children. NYT: “A federal judge on Friday rejected new regulations that would allow the government to hold children and their parents in detention for indefinite periods, one of the Trump administration’s signature efforts to curtail the large number of families arriving from Central America. Describing the government’s defense of its proposed new policy as ‘Kafkaesque’ in some of its reasoning, Judge Dolly Gee of Federal District Court for the Central District of California said it was up to Congress, not the administration, to supplant a 20-year-old consent decree that requires children to be held in state-licensed facilities and released in most cases within 20 days. President Trump has repeatedly criticized the ‘legal loopholes’ that he said force the government to engage in what he calls ‘catch and release’ of migrant families who have been arriving, until recently, in record numbers on the southern border.”

House Rejects ‘Border Wall Emergency’

House votes to overturn Trump’s national emergency to fund border wall — but falls short of veto-proof majority. WaPo: “The House voted Friday to overturn President Trump’s national emergency declaration to fund his border wall, sending the Senate-passed resolution to the White House, where the president will certainly veto it. Only a handful of Republicans voted with Democrats to block Trump from moving money around to pay for the construction of his wall along the U.S. southern border. The resolution passed 236 to 174 — short of the two-thirds support needed for a veto-proof majority. The Senate also did not reach that threshold when it passed the measure on Wednesday. It was the second time that Congress has tried to block the emergency funding. But since that vote in March, the Pentagon has released a list of $3.6 billion in military construction projects that were being canceled to pay for Trump’s wall. Those opposed to the wall thought the new data might spur more Republicans to break with Trump to protect projects in their states, particularly those incumbents facing tough reelections. But only 11 Senate Republicans and 11 House Republicans voted to overturn the national emergency.”

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