Who will Donald Trump’s opponent be? How will Democrats resolve the ideological, generational and demographic questions roiling their primary? Will a strong economy shore up Trump’s support or will recession warning signs turn into a reality? Will Trump face voters as just the third American president to have been impeached by the House of Representatives?
A bitter fight over funding for border fencing is imperiling Capitol Hill efforts to forge progress on more than $1.4 trillion worth of overdue spending bills, one of the few areas in which divided government in Washington has been able to deliver results in the Trump era. Poisonous political fallout from the ongoing impeachment battle isn’t helping matters. While it appears likely that lawmakers will prevent a government shutdown next month with a government-wide stopgap spending bill, there has been little progress, if any, on the tricky trade-offs needed to balance Democratic demands for social programs with President Donald Trump’s ballooning border wall demands. Even an expected Senate vote on Thursday to pass a $209 billion bundle of four bipartisan spending bills isn’t regarded as much progress, especially since it will be followed by a Democratic filibuster of a massive Pentagon spending bill. At issue are the agency appropriations bills that Congress passes each year to keep the government running. A hard-won budget and debt deal this summer produced a top-line framework for the 12 yearly spending bills, but filling in the details is proving difficult. Democrats say White House demands for $5 billion for Trump’s long-sought U.S.-Mexico border wall have led the GOP-controlled Senate to shortchange Democratic domestic priorities. They say negotiations can’t begin in earnest until spending hikes permitted under the July budget deal are allocated among the 12 appropriations subcommittees more to their liking. Trump is demanding a huge border funding increase that comes mostly at the
Bernie Sanders insists he feels better than ever less than a month after heart surgery, but his return to the campaign trail this week sparked new questions about the unusually old age of the Democratic Party’s leading 2020 presidential candidates. Both Sanders, 78, and Joe Biden, 76, suggest their age isn’t a major issue, but voters, particularly older voters, aren’t so sure. Gordon Lundberg, a 71-year-old retired Lutheran pastor from Ames, said candidates’ health is a key issue for him because he understands how it feels to age. He’s leaning toward Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts because, even though she’s 70, “she’s the most liberal and she’s not got one foot in the grave yet.” “Bernie’s just too darn old. And so is Biden,” Lundberg said. “They look old, they sound old, they are old. They fall in the shower, and they get heart attacks!” Lundberg is not alone. Polling has suggested that a significant number of Americans believe a candidate in his or her late 70s is too old to be president. If elected, Sanders would take office having already exceeded the average U.S. life expectancy of 78.6 years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Biden would be just a few months away. Warren would be the oldest new president in history, eclipsing Trump, who himself eclipsed Ronald Reagan. Biden and Sanders would be older on their first day in office than Reagan, a two-term president, was on his
President Donald Trump declared success in Syria on Wednesday and created a bumper-sticker moment to illustrate his campaign promise to put a stop to American involvement in “endless wars.” But with his abrupt withdrawal from what he called “bloodstained sand,” the president ceded American influence over a huge swath of the region to rivals and may have spun the Middle East into a new season of uncertainty. In remarks at the White House, Donald Trump made the case that American administrations before him wasted too much money and blood on sectarian and tribal fighting in which the U.S. had no place meddling. “We have spent $8 trillion on wars in the Middle East, never really wanting to win those wars,” Donald Trump said. “But after all that money was spent, and all those lives lost, the young men and women, gravely wounded so many, the Middle East is less safe, less stable and less secure than before these conflicts began.” But analysts and lawmakers said Trump declared victory for a crisis along the border of Turkey and Syria that was arguably of his own making, while underplaying the reality that he has strengthened the hand of Russia. Critics also say the move will roll back advances made by U.S.-led forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The president also still has work to do to repair the political damage he’s done within his own base among those who say he abandoned the Kurds, longtime U.S. allies who fought
“Latinos are moving out of the urban centers, moving away from the stronghold of the Democrats,” said Jose Fuentes, a former attorney general of Puerto Rico who is advising the president’s reelection effort and called Pennsylvania “a perfect example.” We’re microtargeting those areas that can be successful for us.”
Targeting Turkey’s economy, President Donald Trump announced sanctions Monday aimed at restraining the Turks’ assault against Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria — an assault Turkey began after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way. The United States also called on Turkey to stop the invasion and declare a ceasefire, and Trump is sending Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser Robert O’Brien to Ankara as soon as possible in an attempt to begin negotiations. Pence said Trump spoke directly to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised not attack the border town of Kobani, which in 2015 witnessed the Islamic State group’s first defeat in a battle by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters. “President Trump communicated to him very clearly that the United States of American wants Turkey to stop the invasion, implement an immediate ceasefire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence,” Pence said. The Americans were scrambling for Syria’s exits, a move criticized at home and abroad as opening the door to a resurgence of the Islamic State group, whose violent takeover of Syrian and Iraqi lands five years ago was the reason American forces came in the first place. Trump said the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops who had been partnering with local Kurdish fighters to battle IS in northern Syria are leaving the country. They will remain in the Middle East, he said, to “monitor the situation” and to prevent a revival of
“With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself. By obstructing justice, refusing to reply with a congressional inquiry, he’s already convicted himself,” Joe Biden said. “In full view of the world and the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts.”
As House Democrats fire off more subpoenas, the White House is finalizing a high-stakes strategy to counter the impeachment threat to President Donald Trump: Stall. Obfuscate. Attack. Repeat. Trump aides are honing their approach after two weeks of what allies have described as a listless and unfocused response to the impeachment probe. One expected step is a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting the inquiry because Democrats haven’t held a vote on the matter and moving to all but cease cooperation with Capitol Hill on key oversight matters. The strategy risks further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing their investigations. But as lawmakers seek to amass ammunition to be used in an impeachment trial, the White House increasingly believes all-out warfare is its best course of action. “What they did to this country is unthinkable. It’s lucky that I’m the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it,” Donald Trump said Monday at the White House. “You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam.” House Democrats, for their part, issued a new round of subpoenas on Monday, this time to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and acting White House budget director Russell Vought. Pelosi’s office also released an open letter signed by 90 former national security officials who served in both Democratic and Republican