NDN Blog

Dems Battle It Out, Nevada Caucus Concerns

We know that Bernie and Mayor Pete will do well tomorrow night.  As the various trackers are very bouncy right now, we don’t really know much else other than that the candidates who finish fourth and fifth will be in serious trouble.  As Nevada isn’t for another 12 days – the longest stretch without voting in the Feb window - the New Hampshire bounce could be more important than ever.  538’s national poll tracker has Biden/Bloomberg/Buttigieg/Klobuchar at 48% combined support, Sanders/Warren at 35%.  Questions remain about how low Sanders’ ceiling is – he’s not where he wants to be given his name ID and the money he’s spent.  And we worry that the President’s/GOP's months long illicit attack on VP Biden did take a toll on the former Dem frontrunner – a terrible outcome for our democracy. 

Trump remains in dangerous electoral territory, down 8 in the latest 538 job approval tracker, 51.7 disapprove/43.9 approve.  Despite the expected incoherent bluster from the White House over the end of Impeachment, whatever small improvement we’ve seen in the President’s numbers hasn’t been enough to make him competitive this fall.   Regular reminder – Trump has led his team to terrible defeats in the 2017/2018/2019 elections and there’s no evidence that he’s found some new formula for success.  A President with 52% wanting removal will never have an easy time getting re-elected; the fallout from his illicit dealings will continue to damage him; and all of us should remain worried/vigilant about the expansive new powers the Senate gave to him last week. 

Our take on the app fiasco is that it was an early test of the Democratic Party’s readiness for this new post-2016/Russia world of disinformation and cyber insecurities, and the Party failed the test, terribly.  The DNC should join Iowa’s call for an independent investigation into what happened, stop blaming the states for what was clearly a joint failure, and restore the critical partnership between the DNC and the states needed to win the 2020 election.  The DNC and the Nevada Democratic Party also must take immediate steps to assure the public that we are not headed towards another fiasco/security breach in the Nevada caucuses; our friends at the OSET Institute offer some concrete steps they could take today.  You can find NDN’s extensive work in this space here

Trump's New Budget Proposal Is Incoherent Yet Immensely Dangerous

Three years of economic policy under the Trump administration are well represented by just a few words: incoherent yet immensely dangerous. First, incoherent. The President promised that his tax cut would pay for itself and super-charge economic growth to a sustainable 3%/year. Instead, the tax cut has cost over $180 billion/year and growth has never come in at 3% or higher during his Administration (and was just 2.3% in 2019). Furthermore, Trump promised that his trade war would revitalize manufacturing and create far more jobs than during the Obama administration. Instead, his tariff policies have led to a deep manufacturing recession and job growth through his first three years is almost 40,000 jobs/month slower than during Obama's second term.

Second, immensely dangerous. As a result of Trump's attacks on Obamacare and his support for new restrictions on Medicaid access in the states, the uninsured rate has begun to rise rapidly after years of declines under Obama. In 2019, almost 8 million fewer people had health insurance than did when Trump took office in 2016. In addition, the sharp decline in pollution of almost 25% from 2009 to 2016 has rapidly reversed under Trump. As a result of his gutting of several major environmental programs such as the Clean Power Plan, emissions have actually increased by over 5% since 2016, a development that his own EPA estimates will cause 1,400 additional deaths per year in the US. 

It is fitting then that the budget proposal released by the administration today continues this trend of being implausible yet significantly harmful to the most vulnerable Americans. First, the budget proposal projects economic growth of 3.1% in 2020 and 3%+ every year up to 2024. This is a wildly unrealistic and downright laughable estimate. Growth was 2.3% in 2019, and the IMF and Fed both estimate that it will be just 2% in 2020. Furthermore, the Fed projects that growth will hit just 1.9% in 2021 and 1.8% in 2022, nowhere close to the administration's 3% estimate.

And second, the budget proposal includes significant cuts to the social programs that disproportionately help poor Americans. Trump's proposal would cut Medicaid and food stamps by almost $300 billion and reduce federal disability benefits by almost $100 billion, targeting literally sick, hungry, and disabled Americans. Furthermore, he proposes significantly cutting the budgets of critical future-looking federal departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency by 27% and the Department of Health and Human Services (which funds medical research organizations such as the CDC and NIH) by 9%. For more on NDN's work on economic and trade policy under the Trump administration, please click here.

On To New Hampshire, Impeachment Ends, The App Fiasco

The race for the Democratic nomination enters an important new phase this week.  Impeachment ends today, and it means that the attention of many Democrats will turn to the Presidential race.  What they will find is a wide open race, with six candidates, including Mike Bloomberg, slugging it out over what is an incredibly intense five week stretch.  In part due to the election night app fiasco, Iowa didn’t do what it often does and winnow the field.  So we have an exciting few weeks ahead with a wide open race, and two candidates – Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar – still very much alive and in contention for the nomination.  The New Hampshire debate this Friday is really going to matter – do make sure you watch.

Like many, we are disappointed in the Senate GOP’s embrace of Trump’s ongoing cover up of his crimes, and worry about where this leaves our Republic.  In a recent piece we wrote how important it was for Democrats to embrace the success of their time in the White House as the foundational argument needed to defeat Trumpism and illiberalism in the coming days.

This morning Simon offered an extensive reflection on the app fiasco, and how all of us – not just the DNC and Iowa Party – have to learn from the mistakes made.  We are in the midst of a wrenching transition to a new era of politics marked by cyber intrusions and disinformation, an era we describe as operating by Moscow Rules, and the need for a fundamental re-invention of our parties and other democratic institutions to prosper in this new era is now more urgent than ever. 

Trump's Make-Believe Economic Record

During last night's State of the Union address, Trump heavily focused on his supposed economic achievements and tried to contrast his record with one of decline under Obama. He described a world in which the economy had been long suffering under the Obama administration, but was now prosperous and strong thanks to his policies. Of course, the entire story is preposterous. While it is true that the economy is quite strong today (although large structural problems remain), that strength is a result of a largely unbroken trend that began under President Obama. Indeed, most macroeconomic indicators show either a continuation or slight decline in the pace of economic progress under Trump compared to Obama's 2nd term.

First, job growth has slowed moderately under Trump. From January 2013 to January 2017 under Obama, monthly job growth averaged 217,000 jobs. From January 2017 to December 2019 under Trump, meanwhile, it has averaged 177,000 jobs. Similarly, real median household income grew at an average annual rate of 2.6% from 2012 to 2016, while it has risen at an annual rate of only 1.1% in 2017 and 2018.

The only macro indicator that has seen even a slight pick-up has been economic growth, but even this will very likely be the same as under Obama after the 2020 data is in. In Obama's second term, quarterly GDP growth averaged 2.37% while so far quarterly GDP growth under Trump has averaged 2.54% - already very similar. For 2020, however, the IMF projects that growth will be 2%, meaning that quarterly GDP growth for Trump's four years will likely average 2.41%, essentially identical to the 2.37% average growth under Obama. 

And this doesn't even get into the significant decline in other key indicators of economic well-being under Trump. After the uninsured rate fell from 16% in 2012 to 11% in 2016 thanks to Obamacare, the trend has sharply reversed under Trump and the uninsured rate rose to 14% in 2018. Furthermore, after air pollution declined by 20% from 2012 to 2016 thanks to tighter environmental regulations under Obama, that trend has also gone backwards and pollution rose by 6% from 2016 to 2018. Even Trump's EPA estimates that this increased pollution will cause about 1,400 more deaths per year. As can be seen, it is simply not true that Trump has overseen an economic revival since 2016, and actually almost every macro-economic trend has declined to some extent under Trump. For more on NDN's work on trade and economic policy under the Trump administration, please click here.

Where Bolton Is Headed - Putin

"Where Bolton Is Headed-Putin" originally appeared on the website, Medium

I want to posit that when John Bolton’s story comes out, however it comes out, the most shocking revelations will be about Donald Trump’s treasonous fealty to Vladimir Putin.

We know that the President’s rough treatment of Ukraine’s Zelensky benefited Russia. Trump’s top Russia experts told us so, under oath, in the House hearings. And the President told us so in that infamous July 25th phone call — his first “favor” was actually for Russia and Putin, not himself.

We also know thanks to reporting from the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman that Bolton refused to go television in late August of 2019 to defend the President’s incredible advocacy for Putin at the just completed G7 meeting in France. Over the objections of Ukraine and the European Union, the President made the relaxation of sanctions imposed on Russia for their illegal annexation of Crimea a central issue in the talks. It was rightly seen as an outrageous PR gift to President Putin at the time, and one which of course has to now be seen as a critical part of Trump’s month’s long illicit shakedown of Zelensky.

We also know that the New York Times headline the day after Bolton departed the White House read “Trump Leaves Open Possibility of Easing Iranian Sanctions to Spur Nuclear Talks.” The Times pieces goes on to report “his subtle yet startling signal about relaxing the sanctions came just a day after the president unceremoniously ousted John R. Bolton, the White House national security adviser who opposed détente with Iran.”

Let’s try to put all this together. Bolton joined the Administration in April of 2018. He was there in Helsinki, when the President shamefully said he trusted Putin over America’s intelligence agencies. He was there in December of 2018 when the President abruptly announced America’s first abandonment of Syria, a geopolitical gift to Russia and its regional ally, Iran, a move that caused Defense Secretary Mattis to resign. He was there in early May of 2019 when, after speaking to Putin on the phone, the President abruptly reversed course in Venezuela, essentially once again giving a nation over to the Russians. He was there when the President lavishly praised Russia’s close ally, Viktor Orban, in the Oval Office even saying that Orban was “like me” (we know now that Bolton opposed allowing Orban to come to the White House, and that he used that meeting to help turn Trump against Zelensky and Ukraine).

It was in the late summer of 2019 when Trump gave Bolton reasons to get truly alarmed. He was there as the entire Ukrainian “drug deal” played out over the summer and early fall, including the President’s truly unbelievable suck up to Putin at the all-important G7 in late August. He then had to contend with the President inviting the Taliban to Camp David to finalize a peace deal that would humiliate the United States and provide another boon to Russia. But it was the President’s floating of the relaxation of the “maximum pressure” regime on Iran, Russia’s close ally, which seemed to be the last straw.

And for good reason. While we know the President was deferential to Putin in their public meetings, and had seemed to take a series of dramatic steps to align the US with Putin’s global ambitions in recent months in Syria, Europe, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Afghanistan, the true test of Putin’s influence over Trump would always be Iran. While nodding to Putin across the rest of the world, when it came to Iran, Putin’s ally, the President was with Iran’s enemies, the Gulf Arab states and Israel, in a big way. The President’s first foreign trip was to Saudi Arabia. He pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, re-imposed sanctions, and began his campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran. He threatened Qatar for being too friendly to Iran. We know of his deep intimacy with Israel’s Bibi, and the President even looked the other way when the Saudi’s dismembered a journalist living in the US, working for the Washington Post. Weakening the Trump/Bibi/MBS alliance seemed beyond even Putin’s reach even though like Ukraine this one really mattered to him — he had soldiers fighting and dying in Syria.

Iran hawks had reason to worry about the President’s commitment to their project when he began his first pull out of Syria in December of 2018, a move seen as benefiting Iran and Putin. But it was his shifting of his position on Iran in early September, detailed above, that clearly was the last straw for Bolton and a sign that Putin had run the table with his apprentice in the White House. In reading through contemporaneous news accounts of the President’s repeated gifts to Putin, Bolton appears consistently on the other side — opposing Orban’s visit, the about face in Venezuela, the Ukraine and Afghanistan polices, and finally this new “détente” with Iran.

In the months following Bolton’s departure, events have shown that his concerns about the President’s Russian drift appear to have been more than justified. In one of the more dramatic and dangerous foreign policy acts in American history, the President finished his Syria pull out in mid-October, abandoning our allies the Kurds, risking the return of ISIS, angering our European allies, and fundamentally tipping the scales in the Middle East in Putin and Iran’s direction, all at the expense of the Gulf Arab states and Israel. Zelensky still hasn’t gotten his Oval Office meeting, and every day he and his Republican allies bash Ukraine for being a corrupt cesspool. And in something which deserves far more attention, veterans groups have criticized the Administration for not moving against a newly discovered Russian foreign influence campaign targeting vets here in the US.

But it is what has happened with Iran since Bolton departed which should have American policy makers most concerned. Inspired by the President’s apparent bowing to Russia’s will in the region, the Iranian regime became far more aggressive. It attacked Saudi oil facilities — no US response. Iran downed a US drown — no response. It then began a campaign to bully the US out of Iraq, a campaign which led to the death of an American contractor, the assassination of General Soleimani, an Iranian strike on a US base which caused extensive damage and wounded dozens of our soldiers, and a formal request for the US to leave Iraq altogether — which was the goal of the Iranian/Russian campaign from the start.

With Bibi’s loss of immunity today, and more unacceptable behavior from the Saudis in recent months including the still unfolding terrorist attack in Pensacola, the Russian/Iranian alliance while having taken some casualties in recent months seems to have come out of this skirmish stronger than ever.

The Washington Post reported this morning: “Bolton was regularly appalled by what he saw from the president, the people close to him said. He wondered at times if Trump was acting in America’s best interest or if he was inspired by nefarious reasons, according to a person familiar with the book.”

“Inspired by nefarious reasons.” We don’t yet know what John Bolton is going to say about his time in the White House. What we’ve learned so far has been pretty explosive, and it seems likely that he will be called to testify in the Senate Impeachment trial. But if I am right, and the tale he tells is about an American President repeatedly doing the bidding of Russia to the detriment of the national security of the United States, then we are not just looking at the end of the Trump Presidency but a scandal of potentially world altering proportions.

Crossing The Rubicon

The descent of the GOP from Reagan to Trump, and its increasing acceptance of illiberalism and actions at odds with our democratic tradition to gain/maintain power, is perhaps the most important political story of our time.  As I argued in this long form magazine piece from 2012, once Communism fell and a new age of globalization began, the American right failed to reinvent itself around new circumstances, becoming an angry reactionary force which has chosen the corrupt path of cheating and degrading our democracy to win rather than doing the hard work of modernization that every political party must do as times change. 

In 2000, the GOP gained power through a party line SCOTUS decision which prevented votes from being counted (remains astonishing); in 2002, it lied about the cause of a war of choice to America and the world; it went on an orgy of illegal voter suppression/redistricting in the 2010s which led to unlawfully gained power in state after state in the Union; it illicitly stole a Supreme Court seat in 2016/17 and jammed a terribly flawed nominee through in 2018; its nominee won a very close election in 2016 through the help of a foreign power and a dramatic late intervention by the FBI, and the GOP has worked as a party to illegally cover it all up for years.  So perhaps it is no surprise that we are where we are today, with the GOP unified in once again covering up for this obviously venal President, even to the point of turning the Constitutionally mandated  Senate “trial” into perhaps the first in our history without witnesses and evidence. 

This week feels a bit like a “crossing the Rubicon” moment for the once proud party of Reagan and America itself, particularly after last night’s revelations that John Bolton will be the fourth Trump aide to confirm the President broke the law and abused his power (joining Mulvaney, Sondland, and Parnas). Will the Senate and the Chief Justice really still allow the corruption of the trial as the President calls for? Will the Senate really sanction the effort to rig an upcoming election, certainly one of the gravest crimes an American President can commit, and one which we know from history and the present day can lead shortly to tyranny? The President’s defense is dangerous, and constitutionally ignorant.  Impeachment is not extraordinary this close to an election; it is required if the crime is an attempt to deny citizens their right to fairly choose their own leaders.  Impeachment was included in our Constitution for a situation just like this – an errant President using the awesome power of their office to prevent a free and fair election, and thus the remedy of removal through the upcoming election is simply no remedy at all.  Many of the world’s worst leaders – Putin, Maduro – have gained power through corrupt elections and Potemkin edifices of democracy.  Is this where the Republicans really want to take us this week?  

Failure to allow witnesses and documents in this trial at this time will be among the worst betrayals of our nation and our Constitution in American history.  It may very well leave us a republic in name only, as we will at that moment be led by the kind of Mad King without checks and balances that the Founders so desperately feared.  I am not sure our democratic experiment has seen as many moments as consequential as the one ahead – a moment which unfortunately may be far too much a Rubicon moment than any of us could have imagined even a few months ago.  Let us hope that reason and patriotism prevails, and that this Impeachment “trial” has those elements so critical to the rule of law and our republic itself – germane evidence and witnesses. 

The Threat Of Trump's Trade Agenda

This piece was originally published by the Washington Monthly. Below is an excerpt from the piece, and you can find the whole piece here.

Democrats should be pleased with the successful negotiations over the USMCA and the deal’s passage in the Senate. While the trade agreement’s scope is clearly quite limited—and more work remains to be done on the environmental impact of continental trade—the pact achieves some much-needed tariff reduction, modernizes some aspects of digital trade, and helps to improve labor standards in Mexico. Importantly, House Democrats were able to negotiate stronger labor rights for workers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, with more effective enforcement provisions for those rights, which helped give the deal more teeth. These are all positive steps that will help American workers and businesses.

All that said, Democrats cannot wash their hands of trade policy now that the USMCA has been completed. Quite simply, the deal is only a minor piece of the president’s overall trade strategy. His larger trade agenda is undoubtedly malignant. He has attempted to tear down the global trading system by illegally circumventing the legislative branch­—moves that must be challenged strongly by Congressional Democrats. Otherwise, their win on the USMCA will be significantly undermined by a broader trade policy that has created major losses for incomes, jobs, and the rule of law. 

To read the rest of the piece, please click here.

NDN's Greatest Hits

NDN's most important work from before the years before Trump. 

Most Significant

An Enduring Legacy: The Democratic Party and Free and Open Trade Jan 21, 2014 - The global system created by Presidents FDR and Truman has done more to create opportunity, reduce poverty and advance democracy than perhaps any other policies in history. 

TIME Features NDN Economic Analysis, Chart, Labels It "Most Important Chart in American Politics" Feb 5, 2013 - Michael Scherer of Time reports on the influence Dr. Rob Shapiro's analysis has had on shaping recent thinking about how the American economy is changing.

"Forward, or Backward?" - The Descent of the GOP Into A Reactionary Mess 10/25/12 - In a new magazine essay, Simon argues that the more the world moves away from the simplicity of the Reagan moment the more angry and defiant the Republican offering is becoming.  In both Spanish and English.

The 50 Year Strategy, November/December 2007, Mother Jones. Simon and Peter Leyden offer a landmark vision for how progressives can win and prosper in the decades to come.

The New Landscape of Globalization 6/20/07: By Robert J. Shapiro We can address the challenges of the 21st century economy without sacrificing the benefits of globalization and technological advance, principally by expanding public investments in critical areas and reforming health care and energy policies.

Just Really Good

The Pernicious Politics of Oil Dec 16th, 2016.  Petro-powers are challenging the global order, and the next president seems uninterested in stopping them.

Crafting an American Response to the Rise of the Rest, January 21, 2010, Cross posted on NDN.org and Salon.com.  Simon argues that the second generation Obama narrative must be a strategic response to the most significant transformation taking place in the world today, the rise of new global economic powers, or what Fareed Zakaria has called the “rise of the rest.”

Tapping the Resources of America’s Community Colleges: 7/26/07: By Robert J. Shapiro - Young Americans are increasingly adept at working with computers, but many American workers still lack those skills. Here, we propose a direct new approach to giving U.S. workers the opportunity to develop those skills.

A Laptop in Every Backpack 5/1/07: By Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross.  We believe that America needs to put a laptop in every backpack of every child. We need to commit to a date and grade certain: we suggest 2010 for every sixth grader.

The Foreword to Crashing the Gate, 3/7/06 (a book by Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong) Simon Rosenberg -  If we really want to build a modern movement, progressives of all stripes must learn to work together, to tolerate and respect our differences, to debate but not to fight, to understand that we are all playing different positions on the same team.

America Not Winning, Bernie Stumbles and Biden Leads - Notes on 2020

The images that we see today of the Senate Impeachment trial and the President at Davos while in many ways distant from one another speak to the same story – the savaging of America and its democracy by the President and his party.  The President arrives in Davos a reviled global leader, unfaithful, unsteady, and increasingly seen as dangerous.  As conservative columnist Max Boot wrote last night: “The number of people abroad who express confidence in the US president fell from 70% in 2013 to 28% in 2018 while the number who see the U.S. as a threat climbed from 25% to 45%. More Germans now view Trump as a danger than Kim, Putin, Xi, and Khamenei combined.”

Here at home, the President’s illiberal disdain for our democracy and its inherent limits and virtues will be on full display over the next few weeks. While many had anticipated that Senator McConnell would “rig” the trial for the President, few anticipated the extraordinary lengths he has chosen to go and how closely he has aligned the once august US Senate with the President’s historic venality. This type of contempt for democratic norms and institutions is part of a broader embrace by the Republican Party of what we call "Moscow Rules" in our politics. Our hope is that GOP Senators and the presiding Judge improve the absurd package McConnell has proposed, and allow a fair hearing of what sure appears to be extensive crimes committed by the President and many who work for him. 

Over the past few weeks we’ve argued that it was going to be far harder for McConnell to get the Senate to acquittal than conventional wisdom holds, and his actions in the last 24 hours actions are not those of a leader confident of winning.  A just released CNN poll shows that Mitch is right to be worried, as it confirms that he and the President are losing the big arguments that they need to win this Impeachment fight - 69% of Americans want to hear from new witnesses; 58% believe that he abused his power; 57% believe that he obstructed Congress; by 51%-45% Americans want the Senate to remove him; his job approval is 43% approve, 53% disapprove; Americans disapprove of the GOP's handling of the Senate trial by 54%-39%; and only 37% approve of Trump’s handling of the Senate trial.  These are shockingly poor numbers on issues of such importance to the President (ones consistent with the last few weeks of polling) and suggest that whatever the outcome of the trial, the President has become a spent force in the life of our country. A majority of Americans are ready to see him go. 

As for the Democrats, we share 538’s assessment that Joe Biden has the best chance of winning the nomination.  The last two polls taken in Iowa have him ahead, and 538 has him leading in all four early states right now. Bernie Sanders’ attacks on Biden and Warren have felt desperate, were poorly executed, and probably have done him more harm than good. It is a reminder that as someone who isn’t now and has never been a Democrat, Bernie has never shied from attacking Democrats and the Democratic Party itself. It remains a bit shocking that a career politician who has spent his career outside the Democratic Party believes he could ever effectively lead it. 

Parnas, Impeachment and McConnell's Weak Hand

This essay was originally published on Medium on Thursday, Jan 16. 

In the coming days, Senator McConnell is going to discover there are three reasons getting his colleagues to acquittal will be far harder than he and the President hoped:

The President is clearly guilty, and the evidence is overwhelming — A reminder that every witness who has been called works/worked for the President, including Lev Parnas; the House investigation began only after two Trump appointees, the General Counsel of the CIA and the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, raised alarms about what the President had done, labeling it a matter of “urgent concern;” and the current SDNY/FBI investigation which arrested Lev Parnas was launched by another Trump appointee, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

 

The scandal was discovered by people who work for the President; the investigations were originated by people who work for the President; every witness has been someone who works/worked for the President. All the House has done is let these people talk and tell their story — and a damning story of lawlessness and criminality it is, without peer or precedent in our history. In that regard there is no such thing as Democratic or Republican witnesses — there are only witnesses. And remarkably the President has yet to produce a single witness capable of rebutting the testimony of the cascade of Administration officials who have already testified. They may have people who can talk about things unrelated to the scandal but it would be wrong to call them witnesses to the crimes the President has been charged with.

Trump and “innocence” can’t be used in the same sentence — It remains difficult for us to understand what explanation a Senator will be able to use if they vote to acquit…..was the President innocent of the charges? Is it okay for a President to use the awesome power of the Presidency to threaten and shake down a foreign leader for his own political advantage? Did the Senator not believe the eyewitnesses including Ambassador Sondland who said it was a quid pro quo? Why did the President block documents and witnesses — and refuse to testify himself, as Bill Clinton did — if he was innocent? How could this man, already an unindicted co-conspirator in 2016 felony level election law violations, be considered “innocent” when 3 of his top aides — Flynn, Gates and Stone — will be joining Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen in being sentenced to jail; two more — Parnas and Fruman — were arrested; and there are at least two federal investigations looking into Rudy Guiliani?

As long time political players, it is really really hard to understand how one gets to “innocence” when talking about Donald Trump and what happened here; and we are sure that all the GOP Senators have taken note of how ineffective the President has been in recent weeks of convincing the American people about Impeachment and his recent skirmish with Iran, something we review in this new analysis.

The SDNY/FBI Parnas Investigation will make it impossible for McConnell to make the Ukraine scandal disappear — Last fall SDNY/FBI launched a new formal investigation into Trump and Ukraine that, like the President’s activities in 2016, has once again begun arresting his current set of his aides. The man at the center of this investigation, Lev Parnas, let it be known last night that he believes that not only was Trump directing the illegal shakedown of Zelensky, but Rep. Nunes, Pence, Pompeo, Barr, Rudy, and other top White House officials were involved in the illegal conspiracy too. What this means is that this SDNY/FBI investigation has become a federal investigation into the President and most of his senior team, including the Vice President; and even if acquitted, the President will be running for re-election while under another federal investigation which could at any moment begin arresting or indicting potentially dozens of people involved in these illegal activities including some of the most important leaders of the Republican Party.

Imagine voting for acquittal and then see Rudy, Mulvaney, Nunes, or Pompeo indicted? How do you explain that to your voters?

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