Nancy Pelosi

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump captured the Republican Party and then the presidency in 2016 as an insurgent intent on disrupting the status quo. As he mounts his bid for reelection, Trump is offering himself as the outsider once again — but it’s a much more awkward pitch to make from inside the Oval Office.

Trump is set to formally announce his 2020 bid on Tuesday at a rally in Orlando, Florida, where advisers said he aims to connect the dots between the promise of his disruptive first-time candidacy and his goals for another term in the White House. His promises to rock the ship of state are now more than an abstract pledge, though, complicated by his tumultuous 29 months at its helm.

Any president is inherently an insider. Trump has worked in the Oval Office for two years, travels the skies in Air Force One and changes the course of history with the stroke of a pen or the post of a tweet.

“We’re taking on the failed political establishment and restoring government of, by and for the people,” Trump said in a video released by his campaign Monday to mark his relaunch. “It’s the people, you’re the people, you won the election.”

That populist clarion was a central theme of his maiden political adventure, as the businessman-turned-candidate successfully appealed to disaffected voters who felt left behind by economic dislocation and demographic shifts. And he has no intention of abandoning it, even if he is the face of the institutions he looks to disrupt.

Those involved in the president’s reelection effort believe that his brash version of populism, combined with his mantra to “Drain the Swamp,” still resonates, despite his administration’s cozy ties with lobbyists and corporations and the Trump family’s apparent efforts to profit off the presidency.

“He’s still not viewed as a politician,” said Jason Miller, Trump’s 2016 senior communications adviser. “Voters don’t define him by the party label, they define him by his policies and his message of shaking up the status quo in Washington. That’s the biggest reason he was able to win blue states in 2016.”

Democrats, though, predict Trump won’t be able to get away with the outsider branding.

“How can you say: Forget about the last two years, he is an outsider, he is bashing down doors,” said Karine Jean-Pierre, a former senior Obama campaign official now at MoveOn.org. “People’s lives are harder because of what he has done as president. Voters are paying their attention and are not going to buy it.”

Republicans working with the Trump campaign but not authorized to speak publicly about internal conversations said campaign advisers believe that Trump is still perceived as a businessman and point to his clashes with the Washington establishment — including Congress, the so-called Deep State and members of his own party — as proof that he is still an outsider rather than a creature of the Beltway. Helping further that image, Trump advisers believe, is that his main Democratic foils are all career politicians: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Vice President Joe Biden and, yes, Hillary Clinton.

“He promised that he’d go to Washington and shake things up, and he certainly has,” said Trump campaign manager Tim Murtaugh.

Still, it’s not as though Trump is running from Washington. If anything, he’s wrapping himself in the trappings and authorities of his office. Last week, Trump granted behind-the-scenes access to his limousine, Marine One helicopter and Air Force One for an hourlong ABC News special meant to highlight the singular advantage he has over his rivals — that he already has the job they want.

And Trump is eager to use the power of the office to further his case for reelection. Last month in Louisiana, he promised voters a new bridge if he wins, and in the pivotal Florida Panhandle, he pledged new disaster relief money would flow in a second Trump term.

Trump advisers also point to his popularity among white working-class voters, who consider themselves “forgotten Americans” left behind and mocked by elite insiders. For those voters, many of whom in 2016 cast their first ballots in decades, Trump remains the embodiment of their outsider grievances, their anger stoked by his clashes with political foes and the rest of government (even when his party controls it).

Advisers believe that, in an age of extreme polarization, many Trump backers view their support for the president as part of their identity, one not easily shaken. They point to his seemingly unmovable support with his base supporters as evidence that, despite more than two years in office, he is still viewed the same way he was as a candidate: the bomb-throwing political rebel.

Americans acknowledge Trump is a change agent, but they are divided in their views of that change. Early this year, a CNN poll found about three-quarters of Americans saying Trump has created significant changes in the country, and they split about evenly between calling it change for the better and change for the worse. More recently, a March poll from CNN showed 42% of Americans think Trump can bring the kind of change the country needs.

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Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.

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Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire and Miller at http://twitter.com/@zekejmiller


Why have national Democrats and not national Republicans fallen under the tyranny of the 70-somethings? It seems so contrary to common expectation. Democrats are, as they often remind us, the party of progress and the future. The question seems to rival those enduring, unanswerable mysteries such as “What happens when you die?” and “Why did Mick Taylor quit the Rolling Stones?”

People in their mid-to-late 70s are thick on the ground nowadays, while in an earlier era, of course, you’d have been more likely to find them under it. This is especially true in the urban centers of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, according to a recent survey of census data by the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In particular, the Washington, D.C., area is a leader in “senior labor force participation,” by which the researchers mean the region is loaded with people who have passed the age of retirement yet somehow neglected to retire.

Look no further than the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill. For whatever reason—perhaps they’re more easily bored by government work, or perhaps they’re more eager to cash in on government work—Republicans have less of a 70-something problem. House Republicans are relatively youthful, in chronology if not in disposition: They are led by a trio ages 54, 53, and 52. Indeed, the only 70-something among the GOP leadership on the Hill is the 77-year-old Mitch McConnell (I’m omitting the constitutional office of president pro tempore of the Senate, now occupied by the Republican Chuck Grassley, who is 85 but doesn’t look a day over 86.)

Going down the ranks, the public-affairs software firm Quorum reckoned that the average age of the Democratic House leadership is 72, fully 24 years more than the average of the Republican House leadership. Infamously, the three leading Democrats in the House are 79, 78, and 79, for a staggering combined age of 236, making the Democratic leadership team older, in aggregate, than the Constitution itself.

The party’s congressional gerontocracy has now inevitably bled into the field of presidential candidates. The front-runner, Joe Biden, is 76. Second place, according to most polls, belongs to Bernie Sanders, who’s a year older than Biden. They hope to replace the oldest man ever to be elected president. He’s younger than both of them. If either Biden or Sanders gets to the White House and then wins a second term, we will be governed by a man in his early 80s, nearly two decades older than Franklin D. Roosevelt was when, having won his fourth term, he pegged out from overwork. Needless to say, Sanders and Biden are each much spryer than FDR. Imagine Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins Returns clicking his heels in the Oval Office.

To be sure, anyone who criticizes our gerontocracy must insert a “to be sure” paragraph right about now, praising the gumption and resilience of our oldsters, marveling at their energy and their bottomless reservoirs of wisdom. Stipulated! Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Biden, and Sanders—and especially the McDonald’s-loving 72-year-old incumbent—are walking testaments to the advances made by geriatric medicine since the 1950s, when they were teenagers. The idea that with length of days comes wisdom is a commonplace of our patrimony, from Aristotle and Job to Shakespeare and Austen. And all the flattering things we are required to say about old age and the people caught up in it do serve as a much-needed counterbalance to our culture’s childish obsession with youth.

But this traditional picture of old age as the repository of wisdom comes with certain complications. Gerontocracy is rule by people who insist on turning the peak of their career into a plateau. Aristotle and the others acknowledged that it carries hidden and insidious effects, and reveals unflattering qualities in the gerontocrats themselves. We can see this most obviously in the effect it has had on the Democratic Party generationally. There is a huge gap between where the energy and creativity of the party lie, with a group of dynamic activists and House members in their 30s and even their 20s (thank you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and the ruling class of 70-somethings layered far above like a crumbling porte cochere.

In the farm system that trains and seasons the leaders of tomorrow—assuming tomorrow ever comes—that gap signifies a lost generation. One day, presumably, power within the party will pass, and when it does, if present trends continue, it will leapfrog from seniors born around the time of V-J Day to people who can barely remember 9/11. More likely than not, members of Generation X will never get their turn—an entire cohort condemned to the fate of Prince Charles. After the indignities that Boomers inflicted on Generation X, from disco to postmodern literary theory, this scarcely seems fair.

The situation pushes some Gen Xers to take extreme measures. The far-fetched presidential campaigns of backbenchers such as Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton are best understood as cries for help, as ambitious young politicians try to free themselves from the professional bottleneck created by unbudgeable leadership.

Some 70-somethings are easier to forgive than others. Pelosi and her team are simply aging in place, clinging to a version of the jobs they’ve held for a decade or more; inertia could be as much to blame for their refusal to move along as an unslakable thirst for power and attention. There’s less to forgive in the actions of Biden and Sanders. Three years ago, both were given the chance to leave the field gracefully. But they. Will. Not. Go. Away.

Sanders, holding political positions virtually identical to those of his rivals, offered a less plausible case for his candidacy than Biden did. Biden’s case, which you could strain to make if you were willing to risk a herniated disk, was ideological: He filled a slot that no one else would fill. He was carrying the pragmatic liberalism of an earlier time into a scrum of leftish contenders who believe that pragmatism is for chumps.

That case was dashed last week with Biden’s head-snapping reversal of his 40-year support of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. Far from serving as an alternative to the radicalism of one segment of his party, Biden showed that he is willing to be its slave—if that’s what it takes to win approval for his dream of apotheosis. Such groveling is unlovely enough in people in the robust prime of life; it is doubly so in old people, who, by virtue of their age and experience, are supposed to know their own mind.

The only cure for the desire to be president, a wise politician once said, is embalming fluid. Let’s stipulate to that, too. We all need purpose and meaning in life. The trick for old folks is to adjust their search for purpose and meaning as they follow nature’s course and give way to their juniors. The avenues to self-fulfillment that were open to them as younger men and women are now the rightful territory of a newer generation, and dignity requires them to find other paths of service and satisfaction.

I can easily imagine a host of dignified futures for our 70-something presidential candidates, far from New Hampshire and Iowa. Sanders could work as a tour guide in Nicaragua or a docent on fundraising cruises for The New York Review of Books. Biden, for his part, could take on the once-popular, now-neglected role of “elder statesman,” happy to serve when called to a blue-ribbon panel or as a special envoy to trouble spots here and there, to offer advice when his advice is sought, and otherwise to lead a life of recreation, reading, and contemplation. No one will think less of either of them.

Instead, they have chosen the way of vanity and self-indulgence, to the detriment of the political cause they say they want to advance. Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair. I’m not saying one of them won’t succeed in his quest—though I have my doubts about both—but in a saner world, it would be obvious that the quest itself is unseemly. They do no credit to their peers with their refusal to acknowledge their natural and inevitable station in life. And they do no favors to the younger people—from Pete Buttigieg, age 37; to Kamala Harris, age 54; and even to Elizabeth Warren, age 69—who are eager, as they are entitled to be, to take their shot.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.


Why have national Democrats and not national Republicans fallen under the tyranny of the 70-somethings? It seems so contrary to common expectation. Democrats are, as they often remind us, the party of progress and the future. The question seems to rival those enduring, unanswerable mysteries such as “What happens when you die?” and “Why did Mick Taylor quit the Rolling Stones?”

People in their mid-to-late 70s are thick on the ground nowadays, while in an earlier era, of course, you’d have been more likely to find them under it. This is especially true in the urban centers of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, according to a recent survey of census data by the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In particular, the Washington, D.C., area is a leader in “senior labor force participation,” by which the researchers mean the region is loaded with people who have passed the age of retirement yet somehow neglected to retire.

Look no further than the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill. For whatever reason—perhaps they’re more easily bored by government work, or perhaps they’re more eager to cash in on government work—Republicans have less of a 70-something problem. House Republicans are relatively youthful, in chronology if not in disposition: They are led by a trio ages 54, 53, and 52. Indeed, the only 70-something among the GOP leadership on the Hill is the 77-year-old Mitch McConnell (I’m omitting the constitutional office of president pro tempore of the Senate, now occupied by the Republican Chuck Grassley, who is 85 but doesn’t look a day over 86.)

Going down the ranks, the public-affairs software firm Quorum reckoned that the average age of the Democratic House leadership is 72, fully 24 years more than the average of the Republican House leadership. Infamously, the three leading Democrats in the House are 79, 78, and 79, for a staggering combined age of 236, making the Democratic leadership team older, in aggregate, than the Constitution itself.

The party’s congressional gerontocracy has now inevitably bled into the field of presidential candidates. The front-runner, Joe Biden, is 76. Second place, according to most polls, belongs to Bernie Sanders, who’s a year older than Biden. They hope to replace the oldest man ever to be elected president. He’s younger than both of them. If either Biden or Sanders gets to the White House and then wins a second term, we will be governed by a man in his early 80s, nearly two decades older than Franklin D. Roosevelt was when, having won his fourth term, he pegged out from overwork. Needless to say, Sanders and Biden are each much spryer than FDR. Imagine Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins Returns clicking his heels in the Oval Office.

To be sure, anyone who criticizes our gerontocracy must insert a “to be sure” paragraph right about now, praising the gumption and resilience of our oldsters, marveling at their energy and their bottomless reservoirs of wisdom. Stipulated! Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Biden, and Sanders—and especially the McDonald’s-loving 72-year-old incumbent—are walking testaments to the advances made by geriatric medicine since the 1950s, when they were teenagers. The idea that with length of days comes wisdom is a commonplace of our patrimony, from Aristotle and Job to Shakespeare and Austen. And all the flattering things we are required to say about old age and the people caught up in it do serve as a much-needed counterbalance to our culture’s childish obsession with youth.

But this traditional picture of old age as the repository of wisdom comes with certain complications. Gerontocracy is rule by people who insist on turning the peak of their career into a plateau. Aristotle and the others acknowledged that it carries hidden and insidious effects, and reveals unflattering qualities in the gerontocrats themselves. We can see this most obviously in the effect it has had on the Democratic Party generationally. There is a huge gap between where the energy and creativity of the party lie, with a group of dynamic activists and House members in their 30s and even their 20s (thank you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and the ruling class of 70-somethings layered far above like a crumbling porte cochere.

In the farm system that trains and seasons the leaders of tomorrow—assuming tomorrow ever comes—that gap signifies a lost generation. One day, presumably, power within the party will pass, and when it does, if present trends continue, it will leapfrog from seniors born around the time of V-J Day to people who can barely remember 9/11. More likely than not, members of Generation X will never get their turn—an entire cohort condemned to the fate of Prince Charles. After the indignities that Boomers inflicted on Generation X, from disco to postmodern literary theory, this scarcely seems fair.

The situation pushes some Gen Xers to take extreme measures. The far-fetched presidential campaigns of backbenchers such as Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton are best understood as cries for help, as ambitious young politicians try to free themselves from the professional bottleneck created by unbudgeable leadership.

Some 70-somethings are easier to forgive than others. Pelosi and her team are simply aging in place, clinging to a version of the jobs they’ve held for a decade or more; inertia could be as much to blame for their refusal to move along as an unslakable thirst for power and attention. There’s less to forgive in the actions of Biden and Sanders. Three years ago, both were given the chance to leave the field gracefully. But they. Will. Not. Go. Away.

Sanders, holding political positions virtually identical to those of his rivals, offered a less plausible case for his candidacy than Biden did. Biden’s case, which you could strain to make if you were willing to risk a herniated disk, was ideological: He filled a slot that no one else would fill. He was carrying the pragmatic liberalism of an earlier time into a scrum of leftish contenders who believe that pragmatism is for chumps.

That case was dashed last week with Biden’s head-snapping reversal of his 40-year support of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. Far from serving as an alternative to the radicalism of one segment of his party, Biden showed that he is willing to be its slave—if that’s what it takes to win approval for his dream of apotheosis. Such groveling is unlovely enough in people in the robust prime of life; it is doubly so in old people, who, by virtue of their age and experience, are supposed to know their own mind.

The only cure for the desire to be president, a wise politician once said, is embalming fluid. Let’s stipulate to that, too. We all need purpose and meaning in life. The trick for old folks is to adjust their search for purpose and meaning as they follow nature’s course and give way to their juniors. The avenues to self-fulfillment that were open to them as younger men and women are now the rightful territory of a newer generation, and dignity requires them to find other paths of service and satisfaction.

I can easily imagine a host of dignified futures for our 70-something presidential candidates, far from New Hampshire and Iowa. Sanders could work as a tour guide in Nicaragua or a docent on fundraising cruises for The New York Review of Books. Biden, for his part, could take on the once-popular, now-neglected role of “elder statesman,” happy to serve when called to a blue-ribbon panel or as a special envoy to trouble spots here and there, to offer advice when his advice is sought, and otherwise to lead a life of recreation, reading, and contemplation. No one will think less of either of them.

Instead, they have chosen the way of vanity and self-indulgence, to the detriment of the political cause they say they want to advance. Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair. I’m not saying one of them won’t succeed in his quest—though I have my doubts about both—but in a saner world, it would be obvious that the quest itself is unseemly. They do no credit to their peers with their refusal to acknowledge their natural and inevitable station in life. And they do no favors to the younger people—from Pete Buttigieg, age 37; to Kamala Harris, age 54; and even to Elizabeth Warren, age 69—who are eager, as they are entitled to be, to take their shot.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Donald Trump at a rally

President Donald Trump speaks during a recent rally in Pennsylvania. Trump’s reelection campaign comes armed with resources it could only dream of in 2016. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

2020 elections

The president’s 2020 campaign is flipping the script from its ham-fisted approach the first time Trump sought elected office.

President Donald Trump is sitting on a war chest topping $40 million, has boots on the ground spread across nine regions crucial to his 2020 map and owns a sprawling network of volunteers who’ve been rigorously trained for the months ahead.

When he takes the stage Tuesday in Orlando, Fla., to announce his bid for reelection, Trump will be joined by 20,000 guests whose personal information — names, zip codes, phone numbers — was meticulously recorded when they requested tickets to the rally. First-time attendees will receive relentless emails and texts in the coming weeks, reminding them they can help “Keep America Great” by contributing $5, $10 or $15. Some maxed-out donors who gave generously to his 2016 campaign will trek to Florida to witness what they delivered — and decide whether to give big again.

Story Continued Below

It’s a straightforward strategy to get the president four more years in the White House: be the political juggernaut Trump lacked in 2016.

While 23 Democratic presidential candidates scramble for attention, Trump’s 2020 campaign is quietly flipping the script from its ham-fisted approach the first time he sought elected office. His team has spent two and a half years building a robust, modern and professional operation to optimize as many variables as possible and amassing an unprecedented pile of cash to keep it all afloat.

It’s worked so far. The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee had a combined $82 million in the bank as of April — the result of a joint fundraising operation — and staffers have yet to devolve into the bitter infighting that strained the president’s first campaign and stained his earliest days in the White House.

“In 2016, the people on the campaign like to say that they were building the airplane while it was in flight. This time, he will have a campaign that is befitting of an incumbent president of the United States,” said Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the new-and-improved Trump campaign.

Indeed, one official involved in Trump’s first presidential campaign likened the experience to a slow-motion plane crash: “We were strapped in on a sloppily assembled machine that was gradually spiraling out of control.”

Even with a better-financed and well-ordered campaign, Trump has found the developing 2020 landscape to be tough. State investigators are still probing his past business ventures and financial history. Court rulings have delivered devastating setbacks for his agenda. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has encouraged congressional Democrats to do everything short of impeachment to hold his administration accountable.

On top of all that, the outburst-prone president has struggled to boost his approval rating above 42 percent — where it hovers — and could encounter difficulty billing himself as an outsider while occupying the center of the swamp.

“He’s an incumbent. It’s hard to run the same way in 2020 as he did in 2016,” a person close to the Trump campaign said.

The challenges are not lost on the president’s campaign staff. This time, Trump will launch his 2020 campaign with organizational and financial advantages his previous crew could have only dreamed of — soothing allies who worry the current political environment is less conducive to victory.

From a 14th-floor suite originally designed to house the offices of a capital markets firm, Trump’s modest campaign team of about 50 employees has spent the past several months laying the groundwork for a 2020 race that diverges from 2016 without sacrificing his insurgent populist message. Extensive assistance from the Republican National Committee — driven by a massive staff, existing presence in all 50 states and a staunch Trump ally at its helm — has helped, bringing institutional knowledge and resources that were notably absent in 2016.

Officials at the RNC’s Capitol Hill headquarters are in constant contact with counterparts who work out of the Trump campaign’s Arlington, Va., office, and staffers from each side often travel to the same events to show simultaneous support for the party and for Trump. For example, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel both attended a dinner this week hosted by the local Republican Party in Macomb County, Mich., often called the “home of the Reagan Democrats” and a must-win for Trump in 2020.

“If you look at where the campaign was in 2016 and where it is today, it’s a completely different organization. It has a united Republican Party behind it that also has one of the best fundraising operations we’ve ever seen,” a Michigan Republican Party official said, adding the Trump campaign plans to deploy significant staff to Michigan beginning in early July.

A campaign official said Parscale plans to have “a fully functioning ground game by the end of summer,” as well as several coalition groups that will specifically target female, Latino and African American voters.

Many of those campaign staffers, along with members of the GOP’s state party affiliates, have gone through a program known as GROW, or Growing Republican Organizations to Win. The custom workshop-type classes were created by the Trump campaign and the RNC to train field staff in fundraising, communications, data and digital efforts that will be unique to their states in 2020. One state party official who recently completed the training said they were asked to draft mock news releases and budgets as part of the programming.

Campaign officials readily admit that Trump determines the message on any given day, making it difficult to create a fixed communications strategy that volunteers and staff can follow. Earlier this year, for instance, Trump son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner instructed campaign staff to avoid targeting specific 2020 Democratic candidates only to watch the president lob repeated insults at former Vice President Joe Biden weeks later. Trump has also insulted Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.

“The key for the Trump campaign is to successfully build its operation around the most unconventional candidate in history,” said Jason Miller, a former campaign adviser who remains close to the president. “Parscale has a good enough relationship with Trump to know that you always follow his lead and your job as the campaign is to build upon and amplify his message, not force feed him some message that you cooked up.”

Parscale has declined to foist soundbites on Trump, opting instead to let the president weaponize Twitter at his own discretion. But the campaign has begun crafting candidate-specific messages that it hopes Trump will test out and eventually deploy regularly, depending on who becomes the Democratic nominee. Officials have largely focused on Biden, Sanders and Warren, believing Trump’s opponent be one of those three.

“If it’s Sanders or Warren, they immediately become advocates for radical change that’s a step too far for most voters, and Trump becomes the centrist. But against Joe Biden, the race is much more of a change vs. status quo dynamic,” Miller said.

Campaign allies who are aware of internal polling said they also want Trump to tout his accomplishments constantly. He will only outperform his Democratic opponent if he’s “getting the right amount of credit for the progress he’s making on immigration, the economy and national security,” one outside adviser said. Several 2020 Democrats have argued that the economy is booming because of policies put in place by former President Barack Obama, although Trump’s economic approval rating reached a new high in a CNN poll last month.

Trump’s campaign has been briefing him almost weekly on polling, according to two aides familiar with the conversations, one of whom said the president is more obsessed with polls than anything else, despite repeatedly questioning their reliability after 2016.

The campaign’s first internal reelection poll found Biden trouncing Trump by 7 percentage points in Florida when it surveyed Sunshine State voters in March, ABC reported Friday. The state is key to Trump’s campaign strategy: Without it, a single loss in the Rust Belt could trigger the end of his presidency.

Campaign officials said that isn’t going to happen. They said fundraising has been too successful and that their massive data-gathering operation is unmatched by any Democratic presidential hopeful.

But as Trump prepares to launch his reelection bid 17 months before voters hit the polls in November 2020, perhaps his most distinct advantage is time.

“It’s important to remember that we are not on the same timetable as the Democrats,” Murtaugh said. “We are already in the general election.”

Alex Isenstadt contributed to this story.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Brushing back calls for impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday “it’s not even close” to having enough support in the House, while Democrats pushed forward on other fronts to investigate President Donald Trump.

The House voted 229-191 to approve a resolution that will allow Democrats to accelerate their legal battles with the Trump administration over access to information from the Russia investigation.

At the same time, they’re convening hearings this week on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in an effort to boost public interest in the findings of the Trump-Russia probe while digging into a legal strategy aimed at forcing Attorney General William Barr, former White House counsel Don McGahn and others into compliance with congressional oversight.

“We need answers to the questions left unanswered by the Mueller report,” Pelosi said on the House floor ahead of voting.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy countered that the Democratic maneuvers are all “just a desperate attempt to relitigate the Mueller investigation.” He called it “an impeachment effort in everything but name.”

Earlier in the day, Pelosi all but ignored questions about impeachment during a policy conference, saying the Democrats’ strategy is “legislating, investigating, litigating” — in that order.

Pressed about Trump, she said: “I’m done with him. I don’t even want to talk about him.”

The House’s far-reaching resolution approved Tuesday empowers committee chairs to sue top Trump administration officials to force compliance with congressional subpoenas, including those for Mueller’s full report and his underlying evidence. They now no longer need a vote of the full House.

The Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, urged his colleagues to support the legislation “so we can get into court and break the stonewall without delay.”

After the vote, Nadler said he would go to court “as quickly as possible” against McGahn, who at the behest of the White House has defied subpoenas for documents and his testimony.

The chairman also said he is prepared to go to court to enforce subpoenas against former White House communications director Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson, a former McGahn aide, if they don’t show up for scheduled interviews this month.

And Nadler added new names to the list, saying he is also interested in hearing from Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt, who served as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, and former White House aide Rick Dearborn. Both are mentioned frequently in the Mueller report.

“Either work with us and comply with subpoenas or we’ll see you in court,” said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., the chairman of the Rules Committee.

House leaders have signaled they will hold off on suing Barr, for now, after the committee struck a deal with the Justice Department to receive some underlying materials from Mueller’s report. Nadler has called these some of Mueller’s “most important files” and said all members of the committee will be able to view them. They include redacted portions of the report pertaining to obstruction of justice. Some staff have already started viewing the files.

However, Nadler said the committee will likely sue for access to the report’s secret grand jury information.

The chairmen of several oversight committees said after the vote that Tuesday’s action extends beyond the Russia investigation into other aspects of Trump’s administration, including their subpoena for the president’s tax returns.

“This is not just about Russia, this is a broad, coordinated campaign to stall more investigations across the board,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the chairman of the Oversight Committee. “We are here in a fight for the soul of our democracy and we will use every single tool that is available to us to hold this administration accountable.”

It’s not clear if that will be enough, though, for the dozens of House Democrats who say it’s beyond time to start impeachment proceedings.

Pelosi has resisted those efforts so far, preferring to build the case in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

The No. 2 Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, downplayed the tensions, saying Tuesday he doesn’t get the impression the caucus is “embroiled by this issue and divided by this issue. We have differences of opinion, but I don’t think that we are divided.”

The ramped-up actions this week are intended to mollify some of the impatient members, while also seeking to deepen the public’s understanding of Mueller’s findings.

Mueller wrote in his 448-page report released last month that there was not enough evidence to establish that there was a criminal conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, but he also said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice. The report examined several episodes in which Trump attempted to influence or curtail Mueller’s investigation.

On Monday, the Judiciary panel heard testimony from John Dean, a White House counsel under Richard Nixon who helped bring down his presidency. Dean testified that Mueller has provided Congress with a “road map” for investigating Trump.

The focus on Mueller will continue Wednesday, when the House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to review the counterintelligence implications of Russia’s election interference, as detailed in Mueller’s report. The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Also Wednesday, the Oversight Committee will consider new contempt citations against Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over the administration’s pursuit of citizenship questions on the U.S. Census.

Republicans have criticized the hearings as a waste of time and have called for Democrats to move on.

___

Associated Press writer Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.

HBO host Bill Maher told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he believes President Trump will not relinquish the presidency even if he loses in 2020.

“Give me a feel for what you think about, not necessarily predictions, but what do you imagine happening going forward?” Cuomo asked.

“One of those things, to take up your point, that I’ve been talking about for years now—almost three years—that a lot of people are talking about now is that if he loses, Trump, he won’t go. I’ve been saying that since before he got elected, that if he loses the second time, if he loses the coming election—and Michael Cohen said that, Nancy Pelosi echoed, said that, a lot of people now, and I think that we have to worry about,” Maher replied.

Maher also said he believes fascism has already arrived in the United States.

“When the president of the United States is saying that the news is the enemy of the people — I have a dictator checklist that I read on my show sometimes; things that no American president has ever done but this president does. Appointing your family to key government positions? This is banana republic,” he said.

“So you think he wouldn’t leave?” Cuomo asked.

“That is one of them. I absolutely think he will not leave,” Maher said.

Trump Said Dems do not get “do-overs” in the Russia investigation. Sadly They Are Full Steam.. Are You Tired Of The Left Wasting Our money?

Watergate figure in the spotlight as Dems begin hearings on Mueller report
John Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon and a key figure in the Watergate scandal, is expected to be frontand center on Capitol Hill on Monday, as House Democrats are set to begin a series of hearings this coming week seeking to keep the spotlight on See More Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Although the week could end with Attorney General William Barr and formerWhite House counsel Donald McGahn in contempt of Congress, no formal impeachment inquiry is on the table, and the way forward remains unclear. Prominent Democrats have continued to support the investigative “path” — in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — that some of them publicly hope will lead to impeachment. Trump slammed the hearings on Sunday, calling Dean, who is also a CNN contributor, a “sleazebag attorney” and that Dems do not get “do-overs” in the Russia investigation.

Mexico still in Trump tariff crosshairs
Even as he again hailed his administration’s last-minute deal on Friday with Mexico as a “successful agreement” to address illegal immigration at the southern border, President Trump on Sunday bluntly suggested he might again seek to impose punishing tariffs on Mexico if its cooperation falls short in the future. The president and other key administration officials also sharply disputed a New York Times report claiming the deal “largely” had been negotiated months ago, and hinted that not all major details of the new arrangement have yet been made public.

California to give illegal immigrants full health benefits
In a stance to distance itself from President Trump’s administration, California is set to become the first state in the country to pay for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to have full health benefits. Under an agreement between Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democrats in the state legislature as part of a broader $213 billion budget, low-income adultsbetween the ages of 19 and 25 living in California illegally would be eligible for California’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal. The plan would take effect in January 2020, the Sacramento Bee reported.

‘Big Papi’ shot in the Dominican Republic
Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at nearly point-blank range in a nightclub in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday. A local reporter who said he’d spoken with the doctor who treated Ortiz told ESPN that a bullet had hit Ortiz’s lower back and came out his stomach. Police said Ortiz was transferred to a hospital where he underwent surgery. He’s reportedly now in stable condition. A witness at the scene said a suspect who was at the scene is in custody. Other circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear.

ICYMI: A fourth U.S. tourist death at Dominican Republic resort
A fourth U.S. tourist died after he fell critically and suddenly ill at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic this past April, about a month before three others died in their rooms, Fox News has learned. Robert Bell Wallace, 67, of California, became ill almost immediately after he had a scotch from the room minibar at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino resort in Punta Cana, his niece, Chloe Arnold, told Fox News on Sunday. He was in the Dominican Republic to attend his stepson’s wedding.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
GOP opponent says AOC ‘literally ran’ away when challenged to debate. 
Joe Biden’s bracelet tweet to honor Obama on ‘Best Friends’ Day goes viral.
Justin Bieber challenges Tom Cruise to a fight.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
CBS-Viacom talks near critical stage with board meeting this Friday.
United Technologies, Raytheon to combine in all-stock ‘merger of equals.’
California sees surge in ammo sales ahead of new gun regulations.

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Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Sunday insisted Democrats move toward impeaching President Trump, despite concerns that it could hurt the party in 2020.

“Regardless of the popularity of the idea or what the polling shows us, we must proceed with impeachment so we get the facts and the truth and there is justice for what was done to our democracy in 2016 and the other potential crimes that this president has committed,” O’Rourke told ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos.

The new call to move forward on prosecuting Trump for alleged crimes he has committed since 2015 comes three days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she did not want to see Trump impeached, but rather “in prison.” However, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has called for an impeachment inquiry.

Pelosi is attempting to tow a line between more progressive Democrats like O’Rourke, who are adamant about Trump’s being prosecuted, and others who worry it will hurt the party in the 2020 elections.

The former congressman from El Paso, Texas, said he believes Trump committed crimes that can still be prosecuted.

“I think those crimes might extend beyond what we’ve seen in the Mueller report — using public office for personal gain for himself and for his family; the relationship that he has with Vladimir Putin, which has never been properly explained — from the invitation as a candidate to have Russia involve itself in our elections; his efforts to obstruct justice; the fact that he called Vladimir Putin after the Mueller report was released — called it a hoax, thereby giving him a green light to further participate in our democracy and in our elections,” O’Rourke said.

But O’Rourke refrained from promising he would move to impeach Trump if elected to president next year, saying he would have his Justice Department “follow the facts” and see what they find.

Tijuana (Mexico) (AFP) – Presidents Donald Trump and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador each declared the deal averting US tariffs on Mexico a win Saturday, as markets breathed a sigh of relief — though rights groups condemned what they called a draconian crack down on migration.

Lopez Obrador said the bottom line on the last-minute deal reached Friday night was simple: “there will not be an economic or financial crisis in Mexico on Monday.”

Economists had warned the pain of Trump’s threatened tariffs — set to start at five percent Monday and rise incrementally to 25 percent by October — and Mexico’s likely retaliatory measures would have been acute for both countries, with potentially global spillover.

Instead, the countries hammered out a deal in which Mexico agreed to bolster security on its southern border and expand its policy of taking back migrants, most of them from violence-riven Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, as the United States processes their asylum claims.

Trump hailed it as a victory, after a week of terrifying his southern neighbor, whose economy depends heavily on exports to the US.

“Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement for both the United States and Mexico!” he tweeted early Saturday.

Later, he added: “Everyone very excited about the new deal with Mexico!”

The relief was palpable in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, where Lopez Obrador led a rally attended by several thousand people to celebrate the deal and “the friendship of the people of Mexico and the United States.”

However, the leftist leader — who said he had just spoken to Trump on the phone — also warned his American counterpart that it was not enough for Mexico to tighten its borders, saying Washington also needed to invest in economic development in Central America to stem the exodus from the region.

“The solution cannot be found in just closing borders or coercive measures. The only solution is to fight the lack of opportunity and poverty so that migration is optional,” he said, speaking on a stage set up, with seeming symbolism, next to a McDonald’s five blocks from the border.

– Border crack down –

For many, the episode was vintage Trump behavior: trigger a crisis and let it simmer for a while, then declare it resolved and take credit.

The New York Times reported Saturday that most of the measures that Mexico signed on to in Friday’s deal had already been agreed upon in prior negotiations.

Some advocacy groups in Mexico criticized the deal, saying the plan to deploy the newly created National Guard to the southern border would militarize a humanitarian problem and result in mass detentions of innocent women and children.

The deal criminalizes migration, said activist Luis Rey Villagran of the Center for Human Dignity.

“In this agreement, the migrants are currency,” he said. “The National Guard should be combatting drug traffickers, not focusing on stopping children and women who are trying to fulfill their dreams.”

Some opponents accused Lopez Obrador of playing into Trump’s hands.

“It will make Donald Trump so happy to say he didn’t have to build his border wall because Mexico is now the wall,” tweeted Mexican writer Esteban Illades.

But Mexico managed to dodge one of Trump’s main demands: to accept a “safe third country” agreement in which refugees arriving in Mexico would be forced to seek asylum there rather than the US.

There was also acute awareness the tariffs would have clobbered the Mexican economy, which exports $350 billion in goods each year to the US.

Economists warned the tariffs would also hurt US companies that have set up complex supply chains across the borders with Mexico and Canada under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and lead to higher prices on everything from tequila to refrigerators for US consumers.

The tariffs also drew unusually strong opposition from Trump’s fellow Republicans, especially lawmakers from farm states who worried about losing their second-largest international market.

– ‘Unprecedented steps’ –

Mexico pledged to take “unprecedented steps” to curb the record flow of migrant families arriving at the US border.

The number of migrants detained or blocked at the border surged to 144,000 in May — triple the level a year earlier — including an unprecedented 89,000 in families.

The United States, making official a policy that has triggered opposition in both countries, said it would systematically send back asylum seekers who cross the border, pending a decision on their claims. Lopez Obrador said Mexico would offer them jobs, health care and education.

Thousands have already been sent back, prompting criticism from human rights campaigners that the migrants will lack due process and face danger in Mexican border cities such as Ciudad Juarez.

Trump, who has declared a crisis at the border and earlier deployed troops, says that asylum seekers can too easily slip into the population while on US soil.

Democrats denounced the president for taking the United States and Mexico to the brink.

“Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy,” top Democratic lawmaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

House Democrats this week plan to begin making the case for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants the caucus to stay away from impeachment, but to mollify her pro-impeachment faction, she has sanctioned hearings as well as votes citing two Trump administration officials with contempt of Congress.

The action starts Monday in the House Judiciary Committee where lawmakers plan to hold a series of hearings to examine the findings in the 448-page Mueller report, which Democrats believe show Trump broke the law.

On Tuesday, lawmakers will vote on a resolution to cite Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn with contempt of Congress.

The hearings, Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said, will focus on “the alleged crimes and other misconduct laid out in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.”

Democrats hope it will shift public sentiment in favor of impeachment of Trump for various offenses, including a refusal to cooperate with a broad array of House investigations conducted by their party. Polls show a majority of voters do not support impeachment although the number has ticked up slightly recently.

“I’m hoping all these hearings that we have will allow us not only a chance to get into the legal pieces of this but really the implications for our democracy if we concentrate power in one person,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said. “That’s called a king. What we have is a president and a democracy and three co-equal branches of government.”

The star witness at Monday’s hearing is John Dean, a key Watergate figure who served as White House counsel to President Richard Nixon.

While Dean served time in prison for obstruction of justice, he’s been a staunch critic of Trump and attacks him regularly on Twitter and on cable news shows.

Dean, Democrats hope, can help the public understand the similarities between the Watergate scandal, which forced Nixon’s resignation, and President Trump, who they believe tried to obstruct Mueller’s two-year inquiry into alleged Russian collusion with his campaign.

The hearing, Nadler said, will focus on Trump’s “most overt acts of obstruction” while subsequent hearings will feature “other important aspects of the Mueller report.”

Dean has made the case that Trump’s alleged wrongdoing in office generally is worse than anything that pushed out Nixon.

“Trump is making the long nightmare of Nixon’s Watergate seem like a brief idyllic daydream,” Dean tweeted in November. “History will treat Nixon’s moral failures as relatively less troubling than Trump’s sustained and growing decadence, deviousness and self-delusive behavior. Nixon=corrupt; Trump=evil.”

Tuesday’s contempt vote will shift to federal district court the fight between Congress and Trump over access to material and witnesses from his administration.

Democrats want to cite Barr with contempt for refusing to turn over the unredacted version of the Mueller report while McGahn faces their wrath for declining to appear as a witness at a public hearing.

They will vote on a civil contempt resolution, which will leave it up to the courts to decide whether the Trump administration was legally entitled to hold back witnesses and documents Democrats want to see.

In Barr’s case, the redacted material must remain concealed by law. Democrats are mainly angry at him for his four-page memo declaring the Mueller report cleared President Trump of obstruction and collusion.

Democrats believe Barr lied to them and that Mueller found evidence of obstruction.

The courts have greenlighted Democrats recently in their quest to subpoena access to Trump’s financial documents, which they want to scour for crimes.

“We have already seen the courts side with Congress and we’ll continue to pursue the facts on behalf of the American people,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Friday. “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Ultimately pro-impeachment Democrats, who are still only a fraction of the caucus, hope the actions they take beginning this week will shift the polls in favor of impeachment.

A June 4 Hill-HarrisX poll found only 35% of respondents favored impeachment, compared to 45% who aren’t in favor of it and 20% who are undecided.

Nadler, in a CNN interview last week, acknowledged there is not enough support for impeachment but believes it would grow if more people heard about the facts of the case.

“Right now, we have to get the facts out, we have to educate the American people, because after all, the American people have been lied to consistently by the president, by the attorney general, who have misrepresented what was in the Mueller report,” Nadler said.


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