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Pelosi Suggests Appointing Managers Before Sending Impeachment Articles To Senate

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers Friday in a letter that she plans to move forward with a resolution next week to the Senate to ensure a fair trial agreement on the impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, according to a letter she sent to colleagues Friday. The story was first reported on Fox News. 

Pelosi delayed sending the articles for more than a month. She has come under pressure from senior Democratic party members to move the articles of impeachment.

“None of us understand what Pelosi is doing,” said a senior Republican congressional aide. “It seems like even Democrats don’t get it.”

Last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, was the first Democrat to push Pelosi to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, as reported Wednesday in Politico. 

“The longer it goes on the less urgent it becomes,” said Feinstein. “So if it’s serious and urgent, send them over. If it isn’t, don’t send it over.”

Pelosi didn’t budge until Friday, and lawmakers are now questioning whether her ploy for managers is just another delay tactic. She says the resolution for appointed managers is to ensure that there will be a fair trial in the Senate.

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate. I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further,” she said in the letter to colleagues.

However, it will not be easy for Pelosi, D-Ca, as questions have surfaced with senior Republican lawmakers over her suggestion to appoint managers to ensure the fairness of the trial, said a senior congressional official.

“None of us understand what Pelosi is doing,” said a senior Republican congressional aide. “It seems like even Democrats don’t get it. The delay pushes impeachment closer to the Iowa caucuses, it makes impeachment look less urgent than Pelosi claimed, it sucks media attention away from issues she’d rather focus on, and it kills whatever momentum the Democrats had. So we’re left scratching our heads at this point.”

Further, her tactic to delay sending the impeachment articles have come under harsh criticism and some are questioning if the resolution is just another tactic to delay the impeachment trial.

She said in her letter that she is “very proud of the courage and patriotism exhibited by our House Democratic Caucus as we support and defend the Constitution.”

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Trump Administration Wants Supreme Court To Stay Away from Obamacare for Now

The Trump administration wants the Supreme Court to hold off on any rulings regarding the Affordable Care Act while lower court challenges continue.

Though it continues to believe that Obamacare should be dismantled, the administration is wary of attempting to replace the unpopular health care law during an election cycle.

Republican officials argued in Texas v. Azar that Obamacare needs to be struck down because of the 2017 GOP tax overhaul, which directly impacted Obamacare by eliminating the “healthcare law’s fine on the uninsured,” according to the Washington Examiner.

Without that fine, they argued, the law is unsustainable.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found the law mandating individual health insurance unconstitutional but said the remainder of the law should remain in force pending further lower court review.

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In the decision, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod wrote that the mandate on Obamacare was unconstitutional because “it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power.”

If the court complies with the administration’s wishes, then the Republicans will be relieved of the responsibility to find a replacement healthcare option while balancing campaign responsibilities between now and November.

“As the case comes to this court, no lower-court ruling exists on severability or the appropriate remedy. Far from being urgently needed, this court’s review thus would be premature,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in a digital filing with the Supreme court.

Francisco added, “absent any operative ruling invalidating the ACA’s other provisions in the interim, the accelerated review petitioners see is unnecessary.”

Do you think that Obamacare should be struck down?

The Examiner reported that the administration argued that there is “no present, real world emergency,” so a decision should not be made by the Supreme Court until the lower courts have rendered their decisions.

In addition, a coalition of Republican attorneys wrote in a filing that, “there may come a day when this Court’s review is appropriate, but it is after the issue of severability is decided. There is no emergency justifying that departure from the ordinary course. The district court has stayed its judgement, and that stay remains in place today. If this were really an emergency, petitioners would not have waited 16 days to bring it to this Court’s attention,” The Hill reported.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats disagree.

Democrats want SCOTUS to rule before the 2020 election, in hopes of moving the health care discussion away from unpopular socialist proposals like “Medicare for All” and toward the future of some of the more popular aspects of Obamacare, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, the Examiner reported.

“[T]he law remains too much in limbo for patients and healthcare providers,” they have claimed.

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A decision by the Supreme Court would like drop just prior the 2020 election.

Legal experts expect the Supreme Court to wait until after the election to review the case, The Hill reported.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Sanders tops latest Iowa poll, but the 2020 Democratic primary is still a four way race

Throughout the 2020 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg have topped most early primary state polls. Iowa and New Hampshire polls released late last week followed that trend, while also registering some important changes in position in the final weeks before voters caucus and cast ballots for the first time.

According to a Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers released Friday, Sanders currently has the lead in that state, with 20 percent support — up 5 percentage points from the last poll released in November. Warren followed Sanders with 17 percent support; Buttigieg and Biden were third and fourth, with 16 and 15 percent respectively. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

In New Hampshire, a Monmouth poll of likely primary voters shows the same four candidates clustered between 20 and 15 percent, with Buttigieg in the lead with 20 percent, Biden at 19 percent, Sanders at 18 percent, and Warren at 15 percent. That poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

With such a tight race among multiple candidates, it’s difficult to reach conclusions on how the races in either state will shake out, particularly given the number of voters who remain undecided — and the number who say they could still change their minds. In Iowa, for instance, only 40 percent of caucusgoers say they have settled on a candidate for sure.

Still, with the Iowa caucuses only 23 days away, the results of the polls do suggest Sanders and Warren are well-positioned to finish strong in Iowa. Sanders, is of course first, and critically, Warren is the most popular second choice — a combined 33 percent of respondents said Warren is either their first or second choice (16 percent have her as their second choice).

Second choices are important in Iowa because in each precinct, candidates must reach a threshold of 15 percent of caucusgoers to remain viable (in contention for delegates), which means that supporters of any candidate not reaching that threshold would be asked to support another candidate.

After Warren, Buttigieg — who topped November’s Iowa poll — has the highest second choice support, at 15 percent, also a promising showing. Biden and Sanders each had 12 percent of respondents chose them as their second choices.

And there are still a sizable number of likely caucusgoers who haven’t yet made up their minds: 45 percent said they could be persuaded to change their allegiance before the caucuses, and 15 percent either said they have no first choice, or aren’t at all sure who they’d like to caucus for. These caucusgoers will have a major impact on who wins the caucuses — and who has the momentum that win will grant in the New Hampshire primary.

What this means for the race

Iowans aren’t alone in their uncertainty. A recent CBS/YouGov poll showed that less than one third of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters have “definitely” made up their minds on a candidate.

That there are so many undecideds just three weeks from the Iowa caucuses and a month out from the New Hampshire primary shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Vox’s Ella Nilsen explained:

New Hampshire voters in particular are famous for deciding on a candidate at the last minute — sometimes right up until they go into the voting booth. And many of the dozens of voters I’ve spoken to at candidate events say that while they’re narrowing down to a few candidates, they still haven’t found The One yet.

That tracks in Iowa as well. The Hawkeye State holds caucuses on February 3 where voters literally have to sort themselves into groups based on the candidates they support. Voting happens out in the open, and candidate “viability” — or whether a candidate can reach a 15 percent threshold — matters hugely to their chances. This also increases the importance of people who support lower-tier candidates that won’t reach the viability threshold and have to throw their vote behind someone else.

Each state allocates its delegates to the Democratic National Convention in proportion to primary or caucus results. Each of the top four candidates have reason to be hopeful about their chances in at least one of the first two states in this election cycle, and that makes it seem unlikely that Democrats will have a clear nominee following the contests.

In recent years, the two states have produced different winners from each other. In 2016, Hillary Clinton took Iowa while Sanders stormed back a week later to take New Hampshire. In 2008, Barack Obama took Iowa, while Clinton followed up with a win in New Hampshire. (John Kerry did win both states in 2004, however.)

After Iowa and New Hampshire, all attention will turn to South Carolina and Nevada, where Joe Biden continues to maintain a healthy lead on his competitors — that lead could narrow, or even evaporate, based on what happens in the first two contests. From there, Democrats will sprint to Super Tuesday, the results of which ought to give a much clearer picture for how the race is likely to shake out at that point.

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Ukraine president’s message to Iran: ‘We insist on the full acceptance of guilt’

Ukraine’s president called on Iran to fully accept its “guilt” for the downing of a passenger jetliner on Wednesday that killed 176 people.

After initial denials and under growing international pressure, Tehran acknowledged on Friday that an Iranian surface-to-air missile had unintentionally brought down the plane, a Boeing 737 operated by Ukraine International Airlines.

In one of his strongest statements since the disaster, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he appreciated that Iran had acknowledged what happened, but he demanded more answers.

“The morning was not good today but it brought along the truth,” Zelensky wrote early Saturday morning on his Facebook page after a briefing from U.S. diplomats. “But we insist on the full acceptance of guilt. We expect Iran to pledge readiness to carry out a full and open investigation, to prosecute those responsible, to return the bodies of the dead, to pay compensations, to extend official apologies via diplomatic channels.”

Zelensky also requested that 45 Ukrainian experts already on the site have full access through the course of the investigation. Iran has reportedly asked that Boeing Co. — the American manufacturing giant that has been besieged by safety problems relating to another model, the 737 Max — to join the investigation.

“Iran was pressed to acknowledge the guilt by the evidence presented collectively by the U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain and others,” Taras Berezovets, a political scientist and head of Berta consulting company, told the Los Angeles Times. “Yesterday in Kyiv, U.S. diplomats handed over to the Ukrainian authorities all the evidence, including the data received from satellites.”

Among those on board the plane were 11 Ukrainians, 63 people from Canada — including two newlywed couples, both of Iranian ancestry — and a San Diego college student, her sister and their mother.

The disaster has once again thrust Zelensky — a former comedian and actor who won election last April in a landslide — into the spotlight. Since the political novice took office in May, he has found himself personally pulled into the impeachment proceedings against President Trump after the United States held back military aid from his country.

Ukraine has also been reeling from another major plane crash over its soil, the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down by Russian-backed rebels in the country’s east in 2014, killing all 298 people on board.

The latest plane crash occurred during a new round of tension between the United States and Iran following a U.S. strike that killed Iranian military commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani in Baghdad last week.

The Ukraine jetliner was shot down just hours after Iran fired more than a dozen short-range ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq hosting U.S. troops. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain said Thursday that the evidence showed that a surface-to-air missile had brought down the plane.

Unlike the United States, Ukraine maintains diplomatic relations with Iran.

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Endangered Democrats sound the alarm on Bernie and Warren

“I’m looking at all the moderates in the race,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), who holds a GOP-leaning district in upstate New York. “If we’re going to campaign on issues like Medicare for All and free college for everybody, we’re not going to have a winning message in 2020.”

House Democrats in battleground districts are anxious for a moderate to lead the ballot in 2020, warning that a self-described socialist like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or liberal icon like Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) could hurt their own chances in the fall — and help reelect President Donald Trump. Most won over independents and moderate Republicans to flip long-held GOP districts in 2018.

Some say a more liberal nominee threatens to shatter their electoral coalitions, and they have the data in their districts to prove it. A number of Democratic centrists — some of whom hold seats Trump carried by sizable margins — have studied internal polling showing Biden outperforming other Democratic contenders in head-to-heads with Trump in their respective districts.

“The wrong person at the top of the ticket — and I’m not saying who that is — there would be down-ballot carnage all across the country, and I think that people are starting to recognize it,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), a national co-chair of the Biden campaign.

Unlike in 2016, when most Democrats rallied around Hillary Clinton, most have so far stayed on the sidelines of the party’s primary fight, anxious of drawing battle lines that could further divide their district or attract a primary challenge from the left.

But an increasing number of centrists are quietly engaging with campaigns, particularly Biden, through conference calls and staff-to-staff contact, in the run-up to Iowa’s caucuses.

Biden is leading the congressional endorsement race among the presidential hopefuls. He has 33 in total, including five Democrats in Trump-won House or Senate seats, the most of any presidential contender. Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria of Virginia, Abby Finkenauer of Iowa and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania — all of whom hold seats Trump carried in 2016 — backed Biden this month.

On a November call with Biden, some freshman members cited internal polling that showed the former vice president as the most formidable candidate in their swing-seats.

A number of battleground Democrats commissioned a round of polling in the late summer and fall that tested Biden and other candidates against Trump. Biden performed more favorably, according to sources familiar with the surveys, though they cautioned that some tests had very small sample sizes and that Biden’s dominance is not unexpected given his high name ID.

“I am definitely concerned that someone’s who more on the fringes would have a hard time winning our state themselves, and I want a Democratic candidate to win Pennsylvania and win the presidency,” said Lamb, who endorsed Biden last week and is going to campaign with him this month in New Hampshire.

Asked if Warren or Sanders — the top two candidates in a new Iowa poll released Friday — could win his district, Lamb said: “I think it would be really hard.”

Democrats are also looking seriously at Klobuchar, who pitched her own ability to carry districts where Trump won in 2016 in her Monday night conference call.

The calls aren’t the only contact between moderate Democrats and like-minded presidential candidates. Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg will meet with the over-100-member New Democrat Coalition next week, and the group is also in the process of setting up meetings with Biden and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), according to multiple people familiar with their outreach.

Biden, in particular, forged personal ties with many newly elected freshmen during the 2018 midterm elections, campaigning for more than 20 House candidates in states like Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, South Carolina and Nevada.

Biden’s electability is a key message for his campaign. His wife, Jill, singled out freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) during a fundraiser in Salt Lake City this week, telling donors that his reelection would be easier with a presidential nominee that “every Democrat can run with, not run away from.”

McAdams has not endorsed but said he would like to see a moderate candidate leading the party. Asked if Sanders or Warren could hurt his chances of winning a deep red seat, he suggested he would need to distance himself from a nominee with their profile.

“My ideas are different than theirs.” he said. “So as long as people understand that I’m going to be independent of any candidate and really be true to my district, I think that’s most important.”

For Democrats, the endorsement calculus is personal. Throwing in their name early for a candidate could help curry favor or gain a position in a Democratic administration. But some Democratic consultants say privately they see little upside to making an early endorsement, warning members will be tied to the eventual nominee even if they supported another contender in the primary.

Members of Congress largely appear to be giving more careful consideration to endorsements this time around, unlike in 2016 when lawmakers flocked to Clinton and largely underestimated Sanders’ staying power.

Moderates see another lesson from 2016: Clinton won the popular vote nationwide but came up short in purple states that ultimately sealed Trump’s victory.

“A lot of us that come from districts where Trump won recognize the importance of bringing people together,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.), who also has not backed anyone in the presidential race. “And I think those people who won those districts are probably more drawn to who can reach across the aisle.”

Progressives, however, have long fought back the notion that a Democratic nominee must pick up support from independents and even Republicans in order to beat Trump.

They argue that robust voter turnout — turning out the kinds of numbers that Sanders and Warren have seen at events across the country — will be key to winning back states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Klobuchar’s congressional allies, like freshman Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), argue the opposite.

“I tell people all the time, enjoy reading your national polls, but care about six of them,” Phillips said, arguing that the race would instead come down to a few battleground states mainly in the Midwest. “That’s what this next election is about.”

“We’re no longer a country that is really fighting for their respective bases,” said Phillips, who organized the call with Klobuchar and his colleagues this week. “It’s fighting for the diminishing number of people who really do vote on both sides of the aisle.”

Laura Barrón-López contributed to this report.

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Why so many Iowa and New Hampshire voters are still undecided

CONWAY, New Hampshire — One month out from the “first-in-the-nation” primary, less than one-third of New Hampshire registered voters have “definitely” made up their mind. In Iowa, with 23 days and counting until the caucuses, about the same share of voters has decided for sure, according to a recent CBS/YouGov poll of the two early states.

“I’m torn now; I wasn’t torn before,” New Hampshire voter Tina Craig of Albany, a Sen. Elizabeth Warren supporter, told me after seeing Sen. Amy Klobuchar speak.

All the attention presidential candidates are lavishing on the early states breeds indecision.

“Getting any voter locked into a candidate is hard,” said Hanover voter Robert Cornell, who was leaning toward Warren after seeing her in person but also considering Sen. Bernie Sanders. “Being face to face, hearing her ideas went further with me.”

Some voters I’ve talked to across New Hampshire still have a long list of candidates they’re looking at, but most have narrowed it down to two or three people. Even though the national media likes to silo candidates into “progressive” and “moderate” lanes, voters don’t make decisions as neatly. Some voters like former Vice President Joe Biden and self-avowed democratic socialist Bernie Sanders; others are choosing between progressive Elizabeth Warren and more moderate candidates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“[Warren] and Buttigieg are right there at the top,” said Concord voter Robert Fried. “I want to see which one will capture swing voters and Republican women.”

Even though we’re in the final stretch of the 2020 primary race, in some ways, it’s just getting started.

The big field is helping keep people undecided. But that’s also just the way Iowa and New Hampshire voters are.

Voters “have no reason to make up their mind early” with such a large and ideologically diverse field, University of New Hampshire pollster Andy Smith told me recently.

New Hampshire voters in particular are famous for deciding on a candidate at the last minute — sometimes right up until they go into the voting booth. And many of the dozens of voters I’ve spoken to at candidate events say that while they’re narrowing down to a few candidates, they still haven’t found The One yet.

That tracks in Iowa as well. The Hawkeye State holds caucuses on February 3 where voters literally have to sort themselves into groups based on the candidates they support. Voting happens out in the open, and candidate “viability” — or whether a candidate can reach a 15 percent threshold — matters hugely to their chances. This also increases the importance of people who support lower-tier candidates that won’t reach the viability threshold and have to throw their vote behind someone else.

“The second choices are going to matter more than they usually do because there’s going to be a lot of not viable candidates,” John Deeth, a longtime party activist and member of the Johnson County Democrats executive committee, told me recently.

Veteran Iowa pollster Ann Selzer told me it’s no surprise to her that just 31 percent of respondents said their minds were made up in the recent CBS/YouGov poll. That number went up slightly in the most recent Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll Selzer’s firm conducted, where 40 percent of likely caucusgoers said they had made their mind up about a candidate. Still, another 45 percent said they could be persuaded.

“What people don’t understand is the caucus is designed for people to keep an open mind,” Selzer said. “The process encourages that. There’s no advantage is there, to locking in on a candidate.”

With New Hampshire’s primary being held about a week after Iowa’s February 3 caucuses, a lot could change between now and primary day on February 11.

“Unlike a general election when there are numerous offices on the ballot, in the NH primary there’s only one decision a voter has to make, so they have the luxury of waiting until the last minute to make up their mind,” said former US Ambassador Terry Shumaker, a longtime New Hampshire politico supporting Biden. “That’s why the primary’s very difficult to predict, to poll.”

New Hampshire voters may still be undecided, but they want someone who can beat Trump

There’s a familiar refrain circulating around New Hampshire voters: “anyone but” President Donald Trump.

“I want that guy out so bad, I can’t even tell you. Getting Trump out, that’s number one,” Conway voter Mike Manson told me.

Beyond that, many voters haven’t decided who they’ll vote for. Manson himself wasn’t entirely sure which candidate was best to do that; he said Klobuchar was top of his list, but he was also considering Biden and Buttigieg.

“We have so much talent, it’s really hard to choose,” said voter Margaret Merrill of Madison, who was trying to decide between Biden and Klobuchar. Merrill added she’d “take the garbage collector” over Trump, and was eager for Democrats to select their nominee.

“The sooner we focus on a candidate, the sooner we can get working,” she said.

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Buttigieg Slips in Iowa as Sanders Surges

Bernie Sanders leads the latest Iowa Poll for the first time, while Pete Buttigieg dropped 9 percentage points into third place, the Des Moines Register reports.

The poll shows likely Iowa caucusgoers closely divided among the top four candidates, with Sanders leading the way at 20 percent. He is followed by Elizabeth Warren at 17 percent, Buttigieg at 16 percent, and Joe Biden at 15 percent. Amy Klobuchar is a distant fifth at 6 percent, followed by Andrew Yang at 5 percent. No other candidate received more than 3 percent.

“There’s no denying that this is a good poll for Bernie Sanders. He leads, but it’s not an uncontested lead,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “He’s got a firmer grip on his supporters than the rest of his compatriots.”

The news is not all bad for Buttigieg, who has doubled his support in New Hampshire and leads the latest poll there with 20 percent, followed by Biden at 19 percent, Sanders at 18 percent, Warren at 15 percent, and Klobuchar at 6 percent, reports POLITICO.

“The race remains fairly wide open,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “To the extent that New Hampshire voters could take some cues from Iowa, it’s also worth keeping an eye on lower-polling candidates like Klobuchar if any of the leading contenders stumble in the earlier Iowa contest.”

The Iowa Caucuses are Feb. 3, followed by the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11. The top candidates will meet for a debate in Des Moines on Tuesday night.

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Nancy Pelosi Directs Jerry Nadler to ‘Be Prepared’ to Produce Impeachment Articles

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I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was disappointed in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to get-to-gettin’ on impeachment next week. I wanted Mitch McConnell on the spit with the president* for a little while longer. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not the Speaker’s job to entertain me. And since I’m committed to believing that Pelosi knows what she’s doing, I’ll assume this move makes sense on some level. From CNBC:

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the Floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Pelosi wrote to House colleagues.

(Yes, there’s a tiny loophole there. To “be prepared” to bring the articles isn’t the same thing as actually delivering the articles themselves.)

What she has left, of course, is the undeniable truth that Mitch McConnell is running the Senate as an adjunct to the president*’s legal team, in direct contravention of the oath that McConnell already has announced that he intends to break. In addition, McConnell recently signed onto a resolution brought by Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, a man whose ambition makes Tom Cotton look like a member of the Poor Clares, to rewrite the Senate rulebook in order to dismiss the charges brought by the House out of hand.

Pelosi seems sure that she can sweat the more nervous members of McConnell’s caucus. (If she doesn’t, the whole thing is a sham.) Maybe so. I just hope to god she isn’t passing this along so the senators running for president aren’t inconvenienced. I have no sympathy for them, and I speak from my inner Belichick: Do Your Job. (Senator Professor Warren said the other day that she would be back in Washington for as long as it takes.) You got elected to be senators, so be senators first. If that figured prominently in Pelosi’s thinking, I’m going to go back to being disappointed again.

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