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“I believe that we in the United States Congress should start impeachment proceedings. Immediately,” he said, adding: “The politics of this be dammed. When we look at history at what happened when the president started acting like an authoritarian. The question is what will we have done? And I believe the Congress should do its job.” “I just want to make sure whatever we do doesn’t end up with an acquittal by [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell in the Senate and President Trump is saying he was acquitted by the Congress. I belief we have a moral obligation to beat Donald Trump. He has to be a single term president. And we can’t do anything that plays into his hands.” But Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was more cautious.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said “It’s obvious the president committed the crimes worthy of impeachment.” Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who has said her Justice Department, if elected president, would go forward with obstruction of justices charges against Trump, was the first to elaborate. “We all watched the testimony [former special counsel Robert Muelle], I read the report,” she said. “There are 10 clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president and he needs to be held accountable. I have seen people go to prison for far less.” Sen. Corey Booker of New Jersey agreed. Former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development also was in favor of punishment. “I was first of candidate to call on Congress to begin impeachment proceedings,” he said, adding: “I believe that the evidence is plain and clear. And if it goes that far, you’re likely to see a prosecution of Donald Trump.” The progressive Democrats on the stage Wednesday night for the second round of debates among presidential candidates were all in favor of tossing President Donald Trump in jail.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s staying out the senate race in Kansas to replace retiring fellow-Republican, Pat Roberts, but his announcement hasn’t stopped the speculation, reports The Wall Street Journal. He’s had phone calls with at least three Kansas Republicans who are openly considering running for the Senate seat, took a rare summer vacation in Kansas and missed former Sen. Bob Dole’s 96th birthday party in Washington. “The widely held assumption is that he’s preparing a run, because he wants the reputation of a tough man without having to take on all the political risks that position requires,” one senior administration official told the Wichita Eagle in mid-July. “Pompeo has never stopped being a congressman – he’s a congressman serving as a secretary of state.” Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, has repeatedly downplayed his interest in the seat but has also made a point of maintaining his ties to Kansas. Speculation ramped up after former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach launched his own bid in July as Pompeo is widely seen as Republicans’ best shot at hanging on to the seat. “The fear is getting fired like the last guy and having his entire political career ended by tweet,” the official added.

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But when CNN moderator turned to Gabbard as “the person on stage who served” in Iraq, Gabbard declared: “We were all lied to.” “This is the betrayal . . . betrayal to the American people,” she said. “To me, to my fellow service members, we were lied to, told [Saddam] Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and working with al-Qaida and posed a threat to the American people.” “The problem is that this current president is continuing to betray us,” she charged. “Over years now, not only have we not gone after al-Qaida, who is stronger today than 9/11, our president is supporting al-Qaida.” “I did make a bad judgment trusting the President [George W. Bush] saying he was only doing this to get inspectors in and get the UN to agree,” he said. Vice President Joe Biden was challenged about his vote to go to war in Iraq while he served in the Senate. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said Wednesday night the nation and military were “lied to” about the need to go to war with Iraq.

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also resigned from a planning committee in protest. Caucus members said they will also boycott the rest of a weeklong series of events marking the 400th anniversary and have instead planned alternative commemorations Tuesday in Richmond, Virginia’s capital. Trump’s comments about Cummings were the latest rhetorical shot at a lawmaker of color to spark outrage. Earlier this month, Trump drew bipartisan condemnation following his call for four Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now.” Caucus chair Del. Lamont Bagby said in an interview the group unanimously reached the boycott decision more than a week ago. But he said the president has “continued his attacks” since then and his remarks about Cummings’ district were more of the same. Virginia’s black state lawmakers announced Monday they will boycott a ceremony this week commemorating the beginnings of American democracy because President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend. Trump will join national and state leaders and dignitaries at Tuesday’s event, a commemorative session of the Virginia General Assembly at which Trump is to deliver remarks. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Monday that the caucus was pushing “a political agenda.” “The commemoration of the birth of this nation and its democracy will be tarnished unduly with the participation of the President, who continues to make degrading comments toward minority leaders, promulgate policies that harm marginalized communities, and use racist and xenophobic rhetoric,” the caucus said in a statement. The convening of a legislative assembly in 1619 formed the basis of today’s representative system of government in the United States. The Virginia General Assembly is considered the oldest continuously operating legislative body in North America. The caucus’ statement did not specifically mention Cummings but said Trump’s “repeated attacks on Black legislators and comments about Black communities makes him ill-suited to honor and commemorate such a monumental period in history.” When the Richmond Times-Dispatch first reported earlier in the month that Trump would take part in the event, top Democratic lawmakers said they would not attend. Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment said at the time that their decision was “disappointing and embarrassing.” The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said its members would not attend Tuesday’s event in historic Jamestown marking the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the Western Hemisphere. The boycott comes after Trump’s weekend comments referring to Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ majority-black Baltimore-area district as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” Tuesday’s events are just one part of a yearlong commemoration called American Evolution meant to honor key milestones in the state’s colonial history, including the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first recorded Africans in English North America. “President Trump passed criminal justice reform, developed opportunity zones securing record-setting investment in distressed communities, and pushed policies that created the lowest unemployment rates ever for African Americans, so it’s a bit confusing and unfortunate that the VLBC would choose to push a political agenda instead of celebrate this milestone for our nation,” she said in a statement.

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“Leader McConnell doesn’t have to put the bills that we have proposed . . . or the bill the House has passed, there are bipartisan bills —and we can debate the issue,” Schumer added. “These pundits are lying, lying when they dismiss the work that has been done,” McConnell said, The Hill reported. “They’re lying when they insist I have personally blocked actions which, in fact, I have championed and the Senate has passed. They are lying when they suggest that either party is against defending our democracy.” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday chided Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for complaining about becoming a victim of “modern-day McCarthyism” for blocking two election security bills last week. The comments followed McConnell’s fiery retaliation at critics, accusing them of “lying” and “modern-day McCarthyism” for targeting his block of the Democrat-supported election security measures. But Schumer challenged McConnell: “Prove them wrong.” “If Leader McConnell doesn’t like being criticized on election security, I challenge him: Let’s debate it on the floor with amendments,” Schumer said, The Hill reported. “I challenge him: support additional appropriations for states to harden their election systems. In both cases, Leader McConnell has not done that.” “There’s an easy way for Leader McConnell to silence the critics who accuse him of blocking election security: stop blocking it,” the Senate minority leader said, The Hill reported.

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In January, Coats again was reportedly in Trump’s dog house when he told a Senate committee that North Korea was unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons, which contradicted the president’s more optimistic view. At last year’s Aspen Security Forum, Coats reportedly angered Trump when he  appeared to criticize the president’s ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer slammed on Sunday President Donald Trump’s choice of Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, The Hill reported. “It’s clear that Rep. Ratcliffe was selected because he exhibited blind loyalty to President Trump with his demagogic questioning of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller ” Schumer said in a statement. “If Senate Republicans elevate such a partisan player to a position that requires intelligence expertise and non-partisanship, it would be a big mistake.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter that the successor for Coats “must put patriotism before politics, and remember that his oath is to protect the Constitution and the American people, not the President.” Trump had reportedly soured on Coats several times during his tenure. Axios reported that Trump was impressed by Ratcliffe’s performance during his questioning of Mueller at congressional hearings on Wednesday. Sen Eliabeth Warren, who is running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, added in a tweet that “Our Director of National Intelligence should be above partisan politics, speak truth to power, and resist Trump’s abuses of authority. John Ratcliffe doesn’t fit that bill.” It is not yet clear how the Senate overall will react to Ratcliffe’s nomination, according to The Hill.  However, his membership in the House Intelligence Committee will likely appeal to Republican senators.

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“I agree with my fellow members of the Washington delegation that, as we have learned about the gravity of the potential threats to our democracy identified in special counsel Mueller’s report, it has become clear that the House should begin proceedings to determine whether the president’s action necessitate impeachment,” Murray said in a statement shared on her website. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Sunday supported an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, a decision fueled by testimony provided by special counsel Robert Mueller last week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said the House would decide whether to begin proceedings, “when we have a best strongest possible case” and that such a decision “will be made in a timely fashion.” Murray, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, joins a growing list of Democrats pushing for impeachment, including all seven of Washington’s Democratic House members. Mueller in his testimony before the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees noted the 2000 Justice Department determination that “a sitting president is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution.” He also said his team did not reach a determination whether Trump committed a crime.

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A pair of conservative columnists say Democrats have still not been held accountable for their antics during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.

In a recent radio interview with Breitbart, senior editor for The Federalist — Mollie Hemingway — put Democrat senators on blast for “willfully abandoning” Senate procedures to attack Kavanaugh. She singled out Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Corey Booker, saying they unfairly lobbed unsubstantiated accusations at the now Supreme Court justice and were never penalized for it.

Hemingway said not punishing politicians for slander during the confirmation hearing has allowed lasting damage to be done to Kavanaugh’s reputation:

“Damaging someone’s reputation is a real harm. We think of crime as being about actual acts of physical violence, but damage to a reputation causes real harm and it needs to be taken seriously, so that these things don’t happen again. Part of it is just about people being aware of what the left does with confirmation battles, but there also needs to be accountability.”

Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question during the third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In a separate interview, her counterpart and chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network — Carrie Sevarino — doubled down on that stance. She said Democrats willingly peddled misinformation and false allegations to obstruct Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Hemingway and Sevarino said the conduct of Democrats during the hearing is another example of how the party has fallen prey to the “politics of personal destruction.” The duo are currently on tour promoting their book “Justice on Trial,” which chronicles Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process.

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Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart on Wednesday ripped Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., after he blocked a measure providing compensation to 9/11 workers, saying the price tag was too high.

“Bret, this is about what kind of society we have,” a furious Stewart told Bret Baier during an appearance on Fox News. “At some point, we have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us, and at this moment in time maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries. And what Rand Paul did today on the floor of the Senate was outrageous.” 

Paul said he would offer an amendment on the cost of the bill, titled the Never Forget the Heroes Act, when it reaches the Senate floor.

Stewart last month spoke before the House Judiciary Committee on reauthorizing the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.

He said Paul’s reasoning wasn’t good enough.  

“He is a guy who put us in hundreds of billions of dollars in debt,” he said of Paul. “And now he’s going to tell us that a billion dollars a year over 10 years is just too much for us to handle? You know, there are some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community—the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors — all of a sudden we’ve got to go through this.”

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Amy McGrath, a Marine combat aviator who narrowly lost a House race to an incumbent Republican in Kentucky, has set her sights on an even more formidable target: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McGrath, whose campaign announcement video in her House race showcased the viral power of social media to raise money and national profile, said Tuesday she will try to defeat one of the most entrenched officials in Washington in McConnell. But she sees him as vulnerable because of his lengthy tenure in Washington, his stance on healthcare, and his taut allegiance to the policies of President Donald Trump.

Her decision to enter the race represents a rare victory for Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who has had difficulty persuading top-tier candidates in other states to take on incumbent Republicans with control of the Senate at stake.

The contest also will test the power of incumbency against a call for generational change, along with a measure of whether Trump’s popularity is transferable.

McGrath, 44, will almost certainly be able to raise enough money to mount a serious challenge to McConnell, 77, but she is still a decided underdog in a state that has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Wendell Ford in 1992.

“I’ve been always somebody who stepped up to the plate when asked, when I felt like my country needed me, and this is one of those times,” McGrath said in an interview.

She is attempting to repeat her viral moment with a new video, one that leans hard on idealism while also attacking McConnell as the embodiment of a dysfunctional Washington.

“I felt like somebody needs to stand up to him,” McGrath said.

McGrath also reprises one element of her first video, pointedly noting that when, as a 13-year-old girl, she wrote to McConnell to make the case that women should be able to fly in combat, the senator never wrote back.

But her attacks on McConnell and his record carry risks because Trump remains highly popular in Kentucky, and McConnell has pushed through much of the president’s agenda and, perhaps more importantly, his nominees to federal courts, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

She said that Kentucky voters are not fans of either political party and they supported Trump in part because of his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, lower drug prices, and deliver a more effective alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

“Those things haven’t happened because of guys like Senator McConnell,” she said.

McGrath lost to Rep. Andy Barr by 3 percentage points in the 2018 midterm election, a race that she had been so confident of winning that she was working on her victory speech as the first returns came in.

She ran up comfortable margins in the heavily Democratic Lexington area, but Barr was able to win overwhelmingly in rural areas. Barr also benefited from a campaign appearance by Trump, rare for a House member. Former Vice President Joe Biden went to Kentucky to campaign for McGrath in what proved to be a failed effort to win back onetime Democrats in rural areas.

Trump also is expected to actively support McConnell and to try to muddy McGrath at least as much as Barr did.

In that race, McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, foreswore negative attack ads against Barr while he and several outside groups supporting him spent millions of dollars labeling her as “too liberal” for Kentucky. McGrath, who must first win the Democratic nomination, would not show similar restraint against McConnell.

Democrats have prepared briefing books of more than 1,000 pages on McConnell, whose long record and ties to Washington interest groups provide ripe openings for attack. But he also can make the case that he has been able to use his power in Washington for the benefit of the state.

McConnell has in Kentucky a fiercely loyal team of political operatives who are known for hard-hitting campaigns that leave his opponents badly bruised.

Schumer worked hard to persuade McGrath to run against McConnell. Several other would-be recruits, including former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, declined his overtures, and others, like former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, passed on Senate races to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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