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Democrats have nothing to lose and everything to gain from Trump impeachment: ex-Watergate prosecutor

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One of the abiding fears of many House Democrats who are resistant to opening impeachment proceedings into President Donald Trump is that the public will turn on them, and that the ensuing backlash will carry Trump to a second term in office. They point to the example of President Bill Clinton, who became the subject of an impeachment hearing and became the only president in modern political history to gain seats for his party in the House during his second midterm.

But as former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks writes for Just Security, this need not be a fear for Democrats. In fact, data from former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal show that political harm to them is unlikely.

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“His data decimate the major impediment to holding Trump accountable – the fear that this president would be strengthened by a House vote for impeachment with no conviction by the Senate,” writes Wine-Banks. “Contrary to popular belief, Blumenthal lays out a clear case that President Clinton did not benefit from impeachment and that comparisons to Clinton are highly misplaced. Clinton was at 66% approval before and after impeachment. Impeachment neither improved nor diminished his standing.”

“He was popular before impeachment and just as popular afterward, whereas Trump’s approval ratings are at a stunningly low 39 percent and dropping,” Wine-Banks continues. “Indeed, Trump has never achieved even a 50 percent approval. This means that fears of holding Trump accountable via an impeachment inquiry are unfounded, leaving just the question of whether the evidence supports proceeding. The answer to that is a resounding, almost deafening, yes.”

The instructive case of impeachment, Wine-Banks says, is thus not Trump, but Nixon. “In fact,” she writes, “the case for impeachment of Trump is stronger because he has engaged in a broader stonewalling than Nixon ever did,” obstructing special counsel Robert Mueller, disputing the findings on Russia from every intelligence agency, barring his aides from testifying to Congress, and suing to block the release of his financial records, among much else. “This systematic contempt of Congress combined with the well-established election interference of the Russians and Trump’s failure to take action to prevent its recurrence – or even to acknowledge it happened – is a deadly combination that threatens the role of the first branch of government as a foundational part of our democracy.”

What impeachment hearings could accomplish, Wine-Banks adds, is broadcasting to all Americans a common set of facts that would penetrate partisan echo chambers.

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“With the testimony of witnesses who can be evaluated by all Americans, I fully anticipate Trump’s support will further erode. Public hearings made a difference in the case of Nixon,” she says. “As Blumenthal says, ‘the more the public knew of Nixon’s crimes through public televised hearings, the more rapidly Nixon’s poll numbers crumbled.’ And, I’d add, the more bipartisan support for impeachment grew.”

“Not only will impeachment of Trump not hurt Democrats in 2020, it is essential to preserving Congress as a co-equal branch of government as our Founders intended and is essential to Congress fulfilling its constitutional and moral obligations,” Wine-Banks concludes.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Democrats have a plan to weaponize Trump’s Twitter freakouts — and turn his base against him

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According to a report at the Daily Beast, Democratic strategists appear to have found a way to take one of Donald Trump's greatest strengths -- his rampant tweeting to his fans to keep them fired up -- and turn it into a campaign issue that strips away some of those same followers.

Taking aim at Trump's tweets that often dictate the news cycles while also floating policy trial balloons, Democrats hope to match Trump's words with his accomplishments to show that he is all talk -- and no action.

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Trump freezes out longtime friend over alleged inauguration scams: ‘The president doesn’t get any of that money’

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One of President Donald Trump's longest true friends is Los Angeles-based private equity real estate investor Tom Barrack. Their relationship goes back decades, with Barrack helping Trump sell New York's Plaza Hotel in the 1980s, pitching in to fund Trump's father's funeral, and serving as chairman of Trump's inaugural committee.

It is this last point, according to Politico, that has reportedly wrecked the two men's friendship and caused Trump to cut Barrack out of his inner circle.

Federal prosecutors are looking into how funds from the Trump inaugural fund may have been misspent or used to sell favors or influence in the fledgling Trump White House. Barrack has also come under scrutiny for pushing the Trump administration to approve a nuclear power expansion in Saudi Arabia that would have benefited his own businesses.

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Trump ‘puppet master’ Stephen Miller: 21 things you need to know

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Even among the right-wing ideologues doing the actual presidenting in this administration, Stephen Miller stands out for the copious amounts of Kool-Aid he mainlines. Speaking to the New York Times, a Trump team colleague described Miller as “fiercely loyal” to the president, “a true believer in every sense of the word.” Though he joined the campaign in its early days, penning many of the apocalyptic speeches that won fear-drunk Republican hearts and minds, Miller recently got a lot more visibility after a string of television appearances in defense of the Muslim ban. At each stop, Miller showed a flair for the dramatic: he lied, he dodged, he put on his best tyrant’s voice and proclaimed the executive branch above the law. It seemed contrived and forced, like a politically precocious, weasley teenager’s idea of how to command a crowd. According to those who know Miller’s history, that’s not so far off the mark.

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