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Sen. Gardner ‘In Big Trouble” For Backing Trump Coverup

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill warned on Wednesday that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is risking his seat by complying with the GOP plan to limit President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

With the initial stages of the trial coming to a close, senators will soon face a choice of whether to bring witnesses into the trial or to move toward a final vote on Trump’s removal. Democrats have been urging for lawmakers to bring in witnesses, including, most prominently, former National Security Adviser John Bolton to fill out the factual record, a plan most Americans approve of. Most Republicans, however, are eager to get the trial over with and fear that bringing forward more witnesses might only make their goal of acquitting Trump harder.

So attention has turned to the key Republican senators believed to be most likely to split with the president’s interest, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mitt Romney of Utah. And on Wednesday, a key Republican from a swing state — Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado — announced that he is opposed to bringing forward more witnesses, including Bolton.

“I do not believe we need to hear from an 18th witness,” Gardner said in a statement to Colorado Politics. “I have approached every aspect of this grave constitutional duty with the respect and attention required by law, and have reached this decision after carefully weighing the House managers and defense arguments and closely reviewing the evidence from the House, which included well over 100 hours of testimony from 17 witnesses.”

The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that at a meeting of Republican senators Tuesday night, Gardner expressed concern that a “longer trial would lead to more Democratic attacks.”

McCaskill, in response to Gardner’s comments, indicated that she thought his choice would backfire.

“Wow wow oh wow,” she said in a tweet. “He’s in big trouble.”

She added: “For everyone who does ‘Most Vulnerable [Incumbent] Senators’ lists…. this should rocket him to the top.”

Gardner has long been on the shortlist of Republican senators that Democrats hope to replace in 2020. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the state by almost five points.

And Gardner’s standing in his state looks particularly weak. Morning Consult polls show he’s three points underwater, with 37 percent approval and 40 percent disapproval. This isn’t terrible — it means a substantial portion of the state has no opinion of him either way. But Trump himself is toxic in the state — 39 percent approve of the president, while 57 percent disapprove. That suggests anything Gardner does that pull him closer to Trump will likely hurt him in the general election.

But he also knows he can’t vote to remove the president without completely undercutting his own support from Republican voters, as well as perhaps the national party. So he appears to be trying to make his eventual vote to acquit Trump as painless as possible, and that means getting the trial over quickly.

If McCaskill is right, though, his purpose could backfire. Trying to stop witnesses from testifying will likely be seen as aiding in Trump’s cover-up, and that could push Colorado voters even further away.

George Conway Tweets Trump’s Funniest Geography Blunders

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump’s circle is up in arms over a late-night CNN segment on Monday in which analysts joked that Trump — and his fanbase — are probably not smart enough to locate Ukraine on a map.

But on Tuesday, conservative lawyer and Trump critic George Conway pointed out that the president has indeed never shown any aptitude for geography — and listed some of his most well-known and mocked blunders:

Adam Schiff’s Passionate Argument To Remove Trump

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff ended Thursday’s arguments in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with a fiery speech detailing why it’s necessary that Trump be removed from office.

Schiff made the speech after the Democratic impeachment managers spent the day laying out the evidence that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to force the country to investigate his political rivals. And he explained why those actions deserve to get Trump booted from the White House.

“This is why he needs to be removed: Donald Trump chose Rudy Giuliani over his own intelligence,” Schiff said, referencing Trump’s personal lawyer, who helped lead the effort to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. “He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own FBI director. He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own national security advisers. When all of them were telling him this Ukraine 2016 stuff is kooky crazy Russian propaganda, he chose not to believe them. He chose to believe Rudy Giuliani. That makes him dangerous.”

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff ended Thursday’s arguments in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with a fiery speech detailing why it’s necessary that Trump be removed from office.

Schiff made the speech after the Democratic impeachment managers spent the day laying out the evidence that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to force the country to investigate his political rivals. And he explained why those actions deserve to get Trump booted from the White House.

“This is why he needs to be removed: Donald Trump chose Rudy Giuliani over his own intelligence,” Schiff said, referencing Trump’s personal lawyer, who helped lead the effort to get Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. “He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own FBI director. He chose Rudy Giuliani over his own national security advisers. When all of them were telling him this Ukraine 2016 stuff is kooky crazy Russian propaganda, he chose not to believe them. He chose to believe Rudy Giuliani. That makes him dangerous.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

‘Nothing New’ Carp GOP Senators — After Blocking Trial Evidence

Senate Republicans emerged from the first full day of arguments in the impeachment trial against Donald Trump with complaints that they didn’t learn anything new that made them believe Trump deserves to be removed from office.

The GOP complaints come after Republicans blocked nearly a dozen attempts by Democrats to introduce evidence Trump himself blocked from view during the House’s impeachment inquiry.

Democrats sought to ensure that the Senate trial would include interviews with key witnesses Trump blocked from testifying — such as former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — as well as documents from multiple government agencies that Trump blocked from view.

“We’ve just come out listening to, what, six hours of testimony, and I didn’t hear anything new,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) told reporters Wednesday evening, according to Politico. Barrasso is one of the 53 Republican senators who voted to block new witness testimony and new documentary evidence.

Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) also told Politico he “didn’t hear anything new,” as did Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who said, “So far we haven’t learned anything new.”

The impeachment trial rules, which were crafted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and passed with only GOP votes, do not allow for witness testimony or new documentary evidence to be presented until after the House impeachment managers make their case.

And even then, Democrats would have to convince four GOP senators to vote to subpoena witnesses or evidence. That’s a hard task, given Republicans have so far voted in lock-step with McConnell’s rules, which were intended for maximum control and quick acquittal of Trump.

The most likely Republican senators to buck their party and vote for witnesses and evidence to be heard are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah. However, those three Senators all voted against Democrats’ attempts to call witnesses.

And Democrats would still need to find one more Republican vote, even if all three of those GOP senators vote in favor of hearing new witness testimony and reviewing new documents.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore