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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann
WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has exerted a tremendous amount of influence and control over her Democratic caucus.
But she’s now facing arguably her toughest challenge yet, with some House Democrats — fueled by recent developments — demanding to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump that Pelosi opposes for now.
“During a weekly Democratic leadership meeting in Pelosi’s office on Capitol Hill, Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Joe Neguse, D-Colo., all argued for launching an impeachment inquiry if former White House counsel Don McGahn failed to testify at a planned hearing Tuesday before the Judiciary Committee,” per NBC’s Heidi Przbyla, Alex Moe and Rebecca Shabad.
“It was a big debate and was long and very emotional,” one source inside the Democratic leadership told NBC.
“This isn’t about politics at all. It’s about patriotism. It’s about the strength we need to have to see things through,” Pelosi responded to her Democratic critics, according to Politico.
But just consider all of the news over the last 24 hours that’s emboldening House Democrats:
Oh, and let’s not forget Rep. Justin Amash’s, R-Mich., tweetstorm from over the weekend that Trump engaged in impeachable conduct, or Tom Steyer’s TV ad arguing that the president has been running circles around House Democrats.
“[Trump’s] defying you. He’s laughing at you. And he’s getting away with it,” the ad goes.
Bottom line: Pelosi is facing a potential breaking point, as more and more Democrats want to run through a door that the speaker has tried to keep closed – at least for now.
How does she stop this? Does she take control of the process? Or does she get run over?
Bluegrass State of mind
Before there was Donald Trump, there was Matt Bevin — a controversial conservative who shocked the polls and political world when he won Kentucky’s gubernatorial election in 2015.
And today brings us the Democratic primary for the right to challenge Bevin in the fall for his re-election, featuring state Attorney General Andy Beshear (son of former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear), former state Auditor Adam Edelen and House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins.
The wild card is Adkins, who could benefit from the Edelen-versus-Beshear fight.
Bevin, who’s facing his own primary challenge today from underdog Republicans, is relatively unpopular and thus vulnerable in the fall. But incumbency, a low unemployment rate and the state’s rural-versus-urban divide could help him.
Sounds like another Republican we know…
2020 Vision: Trump continues to elevate Joe Biden
Campaigning in Pennsylvania last night, President Trump talked a lot about Joe Biden.
“Don’t forget Biden deserted you. He’s not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here but he left you, folks. He left you for another state. Remember that, please,” Trump said.
(For the record, Biden moved from Pennsylvania to nearby Delaware when he was a boy.)
More Trump: “The previous administration what they did to our country, they should be ashamed of themselves. [Applause] Sleepy Joe said that he’s running, to quote save the world, well he was, he’s going to save every country but ours. And remember he said a week ago, China is not a competitor. China is not a competitor.”
And here was Trump on Biden’s crowd size at his recent campaign launch in Philadelphia: “It’s no wonder that when Joe Biden announced he’s running for president, by the way, by the way, by the way, we have thousands of people, so… Now they said he had 600 people. No, not very good. Not very good. I’d say 150. And that was on an announcement, right? I’d say 150 people.”
(For the record, Biden’s crowd size was estimated at around 6,000.)
On the campaign trail today
Beto O’Rourke remains in Iowa, hitting a town hall in Tipton before attending his CNN town hall in Des Moines at 10:00 pm ET… And Bill Weld participates in a Kennedy Institute Conversation in Boston.
The Lid: Pennsylvania polka
Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at Trump’s potential troubles in Biden’s backyard of Pennsylvania.
Data Download: The number of the day is … $6 million
That’s the amount of money that’s been spent on TV and radio ads so far in the 2019 race for Kentucky governor, according to Advertising Analytics.
The biggest overall spender has been Adam Edelen’s campaign at $2.1 million, while a pro-Edelen Super PAC has kicked in an additional $1 million.
Edelen’s Democratic rival, Andy Beshear, has spent $1.3 million over the airwaves.
And incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has spent $480,000.
Total ad spending
- Adam Edelen campaign (D): $2.1 million
- Andy Beshear campaign (D): $1.3 million
- Kentuckians for a Better Future (pro-Edelen Super PAC): $1.0 million
- Rocky Adkins campaign (D): $911,000
- Matt Bevin campaign (R): $480,000
- Robert Goforth campaign (R): $234,000
- Putting Kentucky First (pro-Bevin Super PAC): $94,000
- Ike Lawrence campaign (R): $24,000
Tweet of the day
ICYMI: New clips you shouldn’t miss
The backup border funding plan for DHS would take millions from TSA and other agencies, NBC’s Julia Ainsley reports.
Black voters aren’t forgetting past broken promises as they weigh their choices for 2020, writes the Washington Post.
Kris Kobach has submitted a list of conditions — including 24/7 access to a government jet — if he becomes the country’s “immigration czar.”
Don’t miss POLITICO’s Stephen Shepard on what professional pollsters are saying about trends in the industry as a huge presidential election approaches.
And Alabama Public Television refused to air an episode of children’s program “Arthur” that included a same-sex marriage.
Trump agenda: GOP vs. Justin Amash
Republicans are trying to figure out what to do after one of their own, Justin Amash, said the president has engaged in “impeachable conduct.”
The Washington Post writes on Trump’s tendency to make himself a central character in every story — political or otherwise.
A new report finds that Betsy DeVos used her personal email in “limited” circumstances.
A federal judge is denying Trump’s bid to block his financial records from Congress.
2020: Hey, big spender
Trump is outspending all of his Democratic rivals on Facebook.
Here’s what we learned from Trump’s appearance in Biden’s backyard last night.
The RNC outraised the DNC in April.
Bernie Sanders is trying to make a pitch to black voters in the Deep South.
Beto O’Rourke says he’d do a Fox News town hall.
It’s special election day in Pennsylvania.
And here’s what to watch for on primary day in Kentucky.
Pentagon says visits to Trump’s Scotland resort cost nearly $200,000
WASHINGTON — The U.S. military spent almost $200,000 at Trump Turnberry between 2017 to 2019, according to documents that the Pentagon sent to Congress.
In a letter dated Sept. 12 to the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating military spending at Turnberry, the Pentagon acknowledged it had spent just over $184,000 at the president’s Scottish resort. That sum included $124,579 in lodging and $59,730 in unidentified additional expenditures between August 9, 2017 to July 26, 2019. The average cost of a room was $189 a night, the Pentagon said.
In the two years prior, the Air Force spent about $64,000 at the hotel, according to the Pentagon.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., responded to the revelations in a statement on Wednesday, saying “it appears that U.S. taxpayer funds were used to purchase the equivalent of more than 650 rooms at the Trump Turnberry just since August 2017— or the equivalent of one room every night for more than one-and-a-half years.”
The lawmakers called the Pentagon’s disclosures “woefully inadequate,” noting they failed to produce “any underlying invoices or travel records relating to spending” at the resort or at the local airport.
The committee first asked for the information in June. News of Air Force stays at the resort were first reported by Politico earlier this month.
The Pentagon also acknowledged that the Air Force had spent $16 million on fuel expenditures at Prestwick Airport between Jan. 20, 2017 and June 21, 2019.
“Although the Department asserted that it paid $3.38 per gallon for fuel, it did not provide any information on contemporaneous fuel rates at non-commercial sites, such as military bases elsewhere in Europe,” Cummings and Raskin said.
The Democratic lawmakers have said that the airport has lost millions of dollars in revenue in recent years, and its existence is crucial to the golf resort’s survival. The airport has also offered discounts and free rounds of golf to members of the U.S. military, they said, citing the Guardian.
The Oversight Committee is investigating whether the arrangement violates a clause in the Constitution which bars an office holder from profiting from their positions. The panel set a new deadline of Sept. 27 for the Pentagon to produce all invoices, contracts, agreements, and internal and external communications involving the arrangement.
Election 2019 polls tracker: Tories hold strong lead as Lib Dems take out Labour
Trump’s border visit draws few spectators, for or against his wall
SAN DIEGO – President Donald Trump’s visit to the border with Mexico here was attended by only a handful of supporters and protesters, some saying a border wall would protect the nation and others that it won’t address the area’s real problem of smuggling tunnels.
Trump’s stop in the Otay Mesa community was announced Monday night, leaving little time to plan organized events for his 3 p.m. arrival. The first time he came to this neighborhood, in early 2018, dozens of anti-Trump protesters shouted at the president from both sides of the border.
A few die-hard Trump fans were there Wednesday wearing red and donning “Make America Great Again” and “USA” baseball caps.
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Supporter Danny Duran had an American flag draped over his shoulders as the president’s motorcade of armored Chevrolet Suburban SUVs rolled by en route to a dirt road that would take him to a section of upgraded border barriers, unveiled last month.
The wall, Duran said, is “good for his campaign, but it’s good for America.”
Though the barrier is part of a long-planned fence replacement, Duran was convinced this was Trump’s wall.
“We need the wall,” he said. “Why not protect our country? I got a fence on my property.”
The Trump well-wishers were confined to a neighborhood of industrial parks about a half mile from the president’s appearance at the border.
Some of the Trump supporters there didn’t want to talk to reporters for fear of having their words misconstrued — one called a reporter “fake news” — or because they believed it would endanger their families.
Duran, a Latino who speaks Spanish, was proud to speak out. “I don’g agree with everything Trump says,” he said, “but he’s doing a good job.”
Luis Garcia, who owns a packaging supplies business nearby, wasn’t as enthused. He said the president’s past threats to shut down the border and place tariffs on some Mexican goods has been bad news for a border economy dependent on trade between both nations.
“I’m from the border,” he said. “I deal with both countries. People here don’t like the president.”
A border wall won’t stop legitimate trade, he said, but neither would it protect the Otay Mesa community from its true scourge — tunnels that run from Mexico to warehouses here and attract cartel traffic — he said. They’ve been used to ship drugs wholesale into the United States.
“It makes no sense,” Garcia said of Trump’s wall. “The wall doesn’t work. It’s a campaign tactic.”
Trump wrapped up a two-day trip to California that included campaign fundraisers in San Francisco, Beverly Hills and San Diego.
The $147-million replacement barrier he observed Wednesday runs for 14 miles from Imperial Beach to Otay Mesa.
Trump plans to use $3.6 billion earmarked for the Pentagon to help construct 175 miles of wall along the southern border.
Last year Trump vowed that a new border wall would stop 99 percent of unauthorized crossings along the border at San Diego.
“Now we have a world class security system at the border,” Trump said Wednesday.
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