POLITICO Playbook PM: How impeachment is playing across the country

NOW THAT HOUSE DEMOCRATS have decided they are going to pursue impeaching President DONALD TRUMP, take a look at how that’s playing for some of the party’s at-risk lawmakers. …

— REP. CONOR LAMB, who represents a Pittsburgh-area district that voted for Trump, will only say “he ‘absolutely’ supports House Democrats’ investigation of whether Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.” HE DID NOT discuss impeachment in an interview with the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. PPG

— THE DETROIT FREE PRESS has a column with this headline: “Rep. Elissa Slotkin may have risked political career with call for Trump impeachment.” Slotkin represents Michigan’s 8th Congressional District, the area around Lansing. Trump won it by 7 points in 2016.

… AND HOW IT’S PLAYING FOR SOME OF HIS ALLIES: FRONT PAGE of the Orlando Sentinel: “Gov. DeSantis: ‘My duty to protect him isn’t over’”

NEW … On the front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: Trump is holding an Oct. 10 rally at the Target Center. A1 of the Strib

WHAT HOUSE INTEL WILL BE READING … WAPO: “In gambit for Trump, Giuliani engaged parade of Ukrainian prosecutors,” by Paul Sonne, Michael Birnbaum, Ros Helderman and Josh Dawsey: “Rudolph W. Giuliani spent months cultivating current and former prosecutors in Ukraine with a particular goal: Help President Trump in next year’s election by ensuring that Ukrainian authorities pursued allegations that could damage his Democratic rivals.

“But the effort hit a snag. Political neophyte and comedian Volodymyr Zelensky — who once played a Ukrainian president on a television sitcom — swooped in last spring and became the president of Ukraine for real. Some of Giuliani’s efforts were thrown in doubt. One of the prosecutors Giuliani initially saw as an ally made public comments undermining his claims against former vice president Joe Biden. How Zelensky would act was unknown.” WaPo

CALLING ALL EMBEDS … NEW LINE OF QUESTIONS FOR 2020’ERS: Based on what you know now, would you support prosecuting Rudy Giuliani?

SPOTTED: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on a JetBlue flight from DCA to Charleston this morning, discussing impeachment talking points on the phone.

CNN’S PAMELA BROWN: “White House says lawyers directed moving Ukraine transcript to highly secure system”: “The White House is acknowledging for the first time that officials did direct the Ukraine call transcript be filed in a separate classified system. In a statement provided to CNN, a senior White House official says it was under the direction of National Security Council attorneys …

“The admission lends further credibility to the whistleblower complaint description of how the transcript with the Ukrainian president, among others, were kept out of wider circulation by using a system for highly sensitive documents. But the statement does not explain whether anyone else in the White House was part of the decision to put the the Ukraine transcript in the more restrictive system.” CNN

THE SPEAKER UNCORKED — “Pelosi: Attorney General Barr has ‘gone rogue,’” by Quint Forgey: “‘I think where they’re going is a cover-up of the cover-up, and that’s really very sad for them,’ she added. … ‘To have a Justice Department go so rogue — well, they had been for a while — and now it just makes matters worse that the attorney general was mentioned, that the president was mentioned, and yet the Justice Department directed the director of national intelligence to take this to the White House,’ Pelosi said Friday. …

“Pelosi on Friday said she ‘felt sorry’ for [acting DNI Joseph] Maguire, but insisted he ‘broke the law’ by refusing to immediately provide the complaint to members of Congress. His decision to first approach White House and Justice Department lawyers, she said, was ‘not highly unusual,’ but ‘unique. Wrong.’” POLITICO

AND THE SEASONS THEY GO ROUND AND ROUND — “House forces Trump to veto bill blocking emergency declaration on wall,” by Sarah Ferris: “Eleven Republicans and one Republican-turned-independent sided with every Democrat to block Trump’s maneuver to circumvent Congress and divert billions in Pentagon funding to his wall.

“The GOP defections were one less than the 13 Republicans who voted with Democrats on the same measure in February … The Senate approved the measure earlier this week after 11 Republicans joined Democrats.” POLITICO

Happy Friday afternoon.

12 CANDIDATES AT ONCE … CNN’S KYLE BLAINE: “October Democratic debate to take place on one night”

QUITE THE PENCE ANECDOTES, from Peter Baker’s review of Tom LoBianco’s new book, “Piety and Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House” ($17.42 on Amazon): “Karen [Pence], LoBianco reports, ‘was livid’ at Trump’s prurient comments in the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, but her husband concluded it was too late to drop off the ticket. On election night, 2016, Karen refused to kiss Pence. ‘You got what you wanted, Mike,’ she told him. ‘Leave me alone.’

“What he really wants is what almost every vice president wants — to be president. He hoped to run in 2016 and in fact even former President George W. Bush sent a message through intermediaries urging him to ‘please stop Trump and save the Republican Party.’” NYT

UM, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? … @realDonaldTrump at 7:02 a.m.: “To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!”

BACK TO ATTACKING REPORTERS BY NAME! — @realDonaldTrump at 7:20 a.m.: “Obama loving (wrote Obama book) Peter Baker of the Failing New York Times, married to an even bigger Trump Hater than himself, should not even be allowed to write about me. Every story is a made up disaster with sources and leakers that don’t even exist. I had a simple and very..”

… “…..nice call with with the new President of Ukraine, it could not have been better or more honorable, and the Fake News Media and Democrats, working as a team, have fraudulently made it look bad. It wasn’t bad, it was very legal and very good. A continuing Witch Hunt!”

AND CALLING ON SCHIFF TO RESIGN … @realDonaldTrump at 7:41 a.m.: “Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist. He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it….”

… at 7:42 a.m.: “….sound horrible, an me sound guilty. HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT. Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!”

ALSO … at 9:23 a.m.: “Iran wanted me to lift the sanctions imposed on them in order to meet. I said, of course, NO!”

MORE IMPEACHMENT READS — JOHN HARRIS: “Trump Killed the Seriousness of Impeachment: Impeachment proceedings used to be news of unquestionable gravity. The week showed it’s just more fodder for the ideological and culture wars.”

— MICHAEL KRUSE: “‘It Feels Like a 1776 Kind of Fight’: A freshman congresswoman reckons with the historical weight of standing up to the president”: “Sitting in her office on Wednesday evening, finally at relative rest after a series of meetings and votes, [Rep. Mikie Sherrill] tried to put into words for me what had compelled her to act. She repeated variations of things she had said all week, and then, as she spoke of priorities of hers that might get shuffled because of the impending hearings, her chin started to quiver. Her eyes started to well. Sherrill started to cry. …

“These last few years have been unprecedented, a relentless stress test for this democracy. In two and a half centuries, three presidents of the United States have faced impeachment, and now, Donald Trump is about to be the fourth. All of it can feel overwhelming, and should, because it is. And Sherrill is at the center of this latest turn. She’s one of the reasons it’s happening.” POLITICO Magazine

— “More than 300 former officials call Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine ‘profound national security concern,’” by WaPo’s Karen DeYoung: “The collection of signatures was set in motion by National Security Action, an organization founded and largely populated by officials from the Obama administration to call attention to Trump’s ‘reckless leadership.’

“Many of the signers are former Obama officials. But the list includes others who served as career officials in both Democratic and Republican administrations, including Matthew Olsen, head of the Justice Department’s national security division under President George W. Bush and director of the National Counterterrorism Center under President Barack Obama.” WaPo

VIDEO DU JOUR — Watch Trump’s closed-door remarks to U.S. diplomats Thursday. “‘We’re at war,’ Trump said, referring to the whistle-blower in a 15-minute video obtained by Bloomberg News. ‘These people are sick. They’re sick.’” Bloomberg

THE VIEW FROM UKRAINE — KATYA GORCHINSKAYA in Kyiv: “How the Trump Probe Is Playing in Ukraine: Many Ukrainians think the phone call memo made their leader look like Trump’s ‘whipping boy’ — and fear for their country’s future relationship with the U.S.” POLITICO Magazine

HMM … REUTERS/MOSCOW: “Kremlin says it hopes U.S. won’t release details of Putin-Trump calls”: “Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the comment when asked about the White House’s release of a reconstruction of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that has set off a U.S. domestic political storm.

“Peskov said it was not normal diplomatic practice to release confidential details of such calls and that he hoped the bad state of ties with Washington would not lead to a similar situation arising in Russia’s case.” Reuters

THE WORLD’S WORST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS — “Saudi Arabia Agrees to Partial Cease-Fire in War-Shattered Yemen,” by WSJ’s Dion Nissenbaum in Beirut: “Saudi Arabia has moved to impose a partial cease-fire in Yemen, say people familiar with the plans, as Riyadh and the Houthi militants the kingdom is fighting try to bring an end to the four-year war that has become a front line in the broader regional clash with Iran.

“Saudi Arabia’s decision follows a surprise move by Houthi forces to declare a unilateral cease-fire in Yemen last week, just days after claiming responsibility for the Sept. 14 drone and cruise missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.” WSJ

2020 WATCH — “Holder-affiliated group launches new challenge to partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina,” by WaPo’s Amy Gardner: “The suit, filed Friday by the National Redistricting Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of a political committee led by Holder, aims to capi­tal­ize on a recent state ruling that portions of North Carolina’s state legislative districts are unconstitutionally gerrymandered to maximize Republicans’ advantage. …

“One uncertainty with the latest suit, however, is whether it will wind through court quickly enough to produce new districts in time for the 2020 elections.” WaPoThe suit

WASHINGTON, INC. — BURGESS EVERETT and ANNA: “Sen. Rob Portman’s chief of staff, Mark Isakowitz, is being brought on to lead Google’s Washington office as battles over tech policy heat up in Congress and in the Trump administration.

“Isakowitz will be head of government affairs and public policy for the U.S. and Canada. He served as Portman’s (R-Ohio) chief of staff since 2014, playing key roles on tax reform, opioid legislation and trade policy. Isakowitz is a longtime Republican operative in the House, Senate and presidential races, and also was a partner and president at the government relations firm Fierce Isakowitz & Blalock before taking the Portman job.” POLITICO

TV TONIGHT — Bob Costa sits down with PBS NewsHour’s Yamiche Alcindor, WaPo’s Philip Rucker, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and CBS’ Nancy Cordes at 8 p.m. on PBS’ “Washington Week.”

SPOTTED: Tony Podesta with his lawyers Kevin Downey and Simon Latcovich, as well as Michele Jolin and Meghan Latcovich, at Cafe Milano on Thursday night, celebrating after they wrapped up a case favorably. Federal prosecutors closed their investigation into Podesta’s role in Paul Manafort’s Ukraine lobbying efforts earlier this week.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine


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