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‘All that bootlicking on Fox News finally paid off’: Ex-Clinton pollster buried for advising Trump

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In a column for the Daily Beast, longtime political observer Eleanor Clift attempted to solve the mystery over why a former pollster for President Bill Clinton has been advising Donald Trump over his impeachment worries.

Referring to reports that Mark Penn met with the president when beckoned, Clift asked around to find an explanation for why a self-proclaimed Democrat would lend the president a helping hand.

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With former Clinton White House official Joe Lockhart calling Penn “a very divisive guy, not well-liked among his peers and he will inject chaos into the [impeachment] process,” Clift reports that former lobbyist and longtime Democratic strategist Paul Equale had a lesser opinion of Penn — who incidentally is also a contributor on Fox News.

“Unbelievable, what the (expletive) is he doing,” stated Equale. “He’s gone through the looking glass down the rabbit hole and then he drank the Kool Aid. If there was any question that he wasn’t a self-important opportunist, it’s now been answered.”

Continuing along those lines, he added, “None of this is about politics. It’s about what our mothers and fathers taught us—and certainly anyone who claims to have a credential as a Democrat of any stripe who gives advice to this president—particularly relating to impeachment—has political myopia and self-induced blindness.”

According to Jonah Blank, a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide, Penn has a long history of pushing attack-dog talking points that might appeal to Trump, telling the Beast, “He was promoting a racist ‘birther’ dog-whistle strategy long before Trump found it.”

According to Clift, “Penn has long been considered a ‘malign’ force by Democrats, as one put it to me in an email, part of the cast of characters like pollster Dick Morris who had sway over the Clintons in the 1990s. Together with Morris, Penn gained notoriety for ‘triangulation,’ steering Bill Clinton away from House Democrats and closer to the Republicans who won control of Congress two years into his presidency.”

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“Democrats theorize that Penn was angry about that, but his exile from Hillaryland put a mark on him. He ended up accepting an offer from Fox News, appearing regularly to opine about how Democrats were going off the rails, and to suggest Hillary might be readying another White House run,” she continued before pointing out that former Obama strategist David Axelrod tweeted, “All that bootlicking on Fox News finally paid off for Mark Penn. He’s finally a White House insider again.”

According to the columnist, the Daily Beast was able to get a statement from Penn, who wrote in an email: “When the president of either party wants to meet, I think you should meet with them. What is nonpartisanship or bipartisanship about if just meeting with the president, at his request, is such a lightning rod. I am not working for him or paid by him nor will I be and only discussed publicly available data I talk about on TV and elsewhere. I am a lifelong Democrat and the president’s policies on immigration, abortion, equality and many other issues are far removed from mine.”

Nonetheless, another Clinton insider lambasted Penn, telling Clift, “Quite frankly, I was nauseated that he would consent to consult for Trump. Worse that he would actually go to the White House. This man who is not only a Clinton Democrat but who ran Hillary’s campaign. And hasn’t he actually said recently that Hillary might still jump in? Is he playing both sides or is he just coocoo?”

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Trump announces Rudy Giuliani ‘wants to go before Congress’ and testify about his Ukraine dealings

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President Donald Trump on Saturday said that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, wanted to testify before Congress.

Speaking to reporters as he departed for a Republican fundraiser in Florida, Trump praised the former New York City mayor.

"Rudy, as you know, has been one of the great crime fighters of the last 50 years," Trump said of his lawyer, who is reportedly under federal investigation for breaking the law.

"And, he did get back from Europe just recently and I know -- he has not told me what he found, but I think he wants to go before Congress and say, and also to the attorney general and the Department of Justice," Trump said.

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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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