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‘Really false’: CNN analyst debunks the conventional wisdom that impeachment cost Republicans in 1998

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On Thursday, CNN analyst Ron Brownstein told Chris Cuomo that the prevailing narrative arguing against Democrats impeaching President Donald Trump is wrong.

“The first question is, here’s the suggestion: yeah, you impeached Clinton, you didn’t remove him and then you got crushed in the midterms. That will happen to the Democrats this time if they go the same way,” said Cuomo. “True or false?”

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“Really false,” said Brownstein. “I mean, it is true that Republicans lost seats in the 1998 midterm. It was the first time since 1834 that the president’s party, the Democrats, gained seats in the sixth year of a president’s term. There was some cost. They lost five seats. They still won the national popular vote. They still won the vote among independents. There were 91 Republicans in districts that Bill Clinton won in 1996. Four of them lost in 1998, and of course they kept control of the majority in 1998.”

“And the most important point to me is that the lens has to be broadened,” continued Brownstein. “You can’t just look to 1998. You also have to think about 2000, and the presidential race.”

“Let’s look at that one,” said Cuomo. “Another tale of the tape is, you tried to kill Clinton and lost and people hated that you did it. That’s another situation that Democrats will find themselves in.”

“Right. His job approval went up and his personal favorability went down as a result of the issues that were raised in the impeachment inquiry and, of course, the Ken Starr investigation,” said Brownstein. “And George W. Bush very effectively played off those personal doubts about Clinton by constantly talking about, as one of his core promises, that he would ‘restore honor and dignity to the Oval Office’ … there were approximately a fifth of all the voters [who] said they had positive views of Clinton’s job performance but negative views of Clinton personally. And many more of the voters than would be typical voted for George W. Bush and they were a crucial part of his victory.”

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“Look, there are a lot of reasons Al Gore lost. Hanging chads. Ralph Nader. The Supreme Court,” said Brownstein. “But one of the reasons that George W. Bush was so close to him that all of those other things could matter, despite the good economy, despite Clinton’s high approval rating, were the personal doubts about Clinton, and those were inflamed by impeachment.”

“The last one is this,” said Cuomo. “If you impeach but you do not remove, your voters will hate you for it and they’ll remember and they’ll punish you. So if they only impeach and can’t remove they shouldn’t do it at all.”

“You know, The Bush campaign from 2000s … they felt it was exactly the opposite,” said Brownstein. “They felt the fact that Clinton had been impeached but not removed meant that there were no consequences for his behavior and they thought that increased Republican turn out in 2000 because they wanted to finish the job and the only way to punish Clinton was to vote against Al Gore, his vice president. Of course, now it is more direct. Don’t forget that Bill Clinton’s approval rating was 23 points higher, roughly, at the time of impeachment than Donald Trump’s is today, and that there was slightly less support for impeaching Bill Clinton than there was for impeaching Donald Trump before the process started.”

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“I’m not saying that impeachment is a guaranteed political winner for the Democrats,” Brownstein added. “What I’m saying is that the record invalidates the idea that it’s a guaranteed political loser. I think it suggests that Democrats have much more leeway than they now believe to do what they think is morally and legally right, without the certainty that impeachment is walking into a political buzz saw.”

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CNN panel mocks the White House for promoting a photo of Trump looking ‘subservient’ to Pelosi

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The White House posted a series of photos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Wednesday after their meeting, showing Pelosi being the only person in the room literally standing up to President Donald Trump. It was an image that baffled the mind of at least one CNN panelist as to why the Trump people would be promoting Pelosi.

According to reports from those who were in the room, the president flew off the handle after Pelosi quipped that it seems all roads lead back to Russia for this president. It was at that point that Trump called Pelosi a "third-grade politician," though presumably, he meant "third-rate," and the meeting broke apart.

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Max Boot calls BS on Republicans for trying to claim Syria is Nancy Pelosi’s fault because of impeachment

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President Donald Trump is conducting foreign policy like a 1980s television character, according to conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot.

In a panel discussion about the letter Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, Boot mocked Republicans for suddenly trying to claim that Trump's withdrawal from Syria was Speaker Nancy Pelosi's fault because of impeachment. It is unclear if Republicans are confessing the president is too distracted by impeachment to be making foreign policy decisions or if they are blaming Pelosi for military decisions.

"I mean there's a lot of really lame Republican talking points out there, Don," Boot said to CNN host Don Lemon. "But to suggest, as Rep. Liz Cheney and others have done that somehow Trump's inexplicable decision to give the Turks the green light to invade Syria — that was somehow the fault of Nancy Pelosi because of the impeachment process? What?"

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Ex-counterintel official explains how lobbying laws could bring down Rudy Giuliani

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," former Justice Department counterintelligence official David Laufman explained to Chris Cuomo how President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani could go down for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

"Why does this matter, this area of the law?" asked Cuomo.

"This was a statute enacted in the 1930s in response to pro-Nazi German elements of the United States, engaged in subversive propaganda activities so that the U.S. people or lawmakers when confronted with content, whether lobbying or an op-ed, can make an informed assessment based on who the real party is behind it," explained Laufman. "If it's a foreign party, the American people should be able to take that into account and assigning whatever weight they want."

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