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‘He doesn’t have a lot of friends’: Presidential historian explains why latest impeachment poll shows ‘fake president’ Trump is in ‘deep trouble’

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The Ukraine scandal has turned many former impeachment skeptics, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, into impeachment proponents. And polling by CNN shows how much support for impeachment has increased with the general public: while only 36% of Americans wanted President Donald Trump impeached and removed from office in March, that number increased to 50% in October and late November. According to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley (who teaches at Rice University), that 50% is terrible for a president who is seeking reelection.

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During a November 29 appearance on CNN, Brinkley explained, “Once the vote is taken by Congress to impeach him and he’s wearing the ‘i’ on his chest, you’re going to see that movement grow even more. It tells you he doesn’t have a lot of friends. He’s a base politician. He doesn’t know how to turn this around.”

By “base politician,” Brinkley means that Trump is someone whose support is mainly coming from his hardcore base. Trump is still quite popular among his base, and that CNN poll showed that only 10% of Republicans want him impeached and removed from office.

When President Bill Clinton faced impeachment in the late 1990s, those who wanted him impeached and removed from office — according to Pew Research Center — never passed 35%. And Clinton had a 73% approval rating when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach him.

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Comparing Clinton and Trump, Brinkley commented, “The charges of corruption (against Trump) are just deep and real. Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades always seemed a tad bit frivolous, and the Starr Report seemed overdone with sexual detail. Clinton kind of became a hero of his own impeachment.”

Trump has often been described as the most corrupt U.S. president since Richard Nixon. But Brinkley goes a step further, saying Trump is the most corrupt since Republican Warren G. Harding — who was elected in 1920 and died in 1923.

“Trump is heading right into a 2020 election,” Brinkley told CNN, “and the Democrats are going to pound on him being kind of a fake president — somebody who’s subpar in his behavior and has been running the most corrupt administration since Warren Harding.”

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GOP governors are refusing to do Trump’s bidding and ducking him on the campaign trail: report

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On Saturday, Maggie Haberman of The New York Times profiled how President Donald Trump is having less luck whipping Republican governors into line than Republican senators, including governors who arguably owe their election to his support.

"In Florida, Mr. Trump’s aides helped save the flailing candidacy of Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Republican primary, and then the general election," wrote Haberman. "Also last year, in Georgia, Mr. Trump helped pull Brian Kemp over the finish line in both the primary and the general election. In both cases, Mr. Trump’s advisers implored him to stay out of the primaries, and he agreed to — only to surprise his aides by jumping in to support Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Kemp."

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Courts have avoided refereeing between Congress and the president — Trump may change all that

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President Donald Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle is the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.

It’s not the first test: Struggles over power among the political branches predate our Constitution. The framers chose not to, and probably could not, fully resolve them.

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Giuliani’s latest trip to Ukraine opened a new door for prosecutors to go after Trump: MSNBC analyst

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On MSNBC Saturday afternoon, legal analyst Danny Cevallos explained how Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine to produce anti-impeachment propaganda could end up harming his legal position — by muddying attorney-client privilege with President Donald Trump.

"The only path to legitimacy is if there was a true corruption threat in Ukraine, and specifically if Hunter Biden and Burisma posed a true corruption threat," said Cevallos. "That is why Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine. He's building that case. So that he can show, bring a news network there, right-leaning news network to do a documentary or investigate this issue and yield factual information that Rudy Giuliani can point to and say, this corruption, this evidence, these facts show that President trump was warranted in requesting an investigation, not generally into corruption, specifically into Hunter Biden. It's the only path that will work for Republicans that passes even remotely any kind of smell test. Even then, it's a bit of a stretch."

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