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CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA—Kohawk Arena at Coe College had something of a startling reporter-to-voter ratio when Senator Professor Warren came by to call on Saturday. It filled slowly, but it did fill. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who rapidly is building a following of her own as a rock-star surrogate, got them revved up in time for the main event, who showed up and immediately sought to make up for the time she’d lost as a juror in the moot court competition in Washington.
Warren had too many stops to make over the last three days of the Iowa caucus campaign to hang around for her trademark selfie line afterwards. However, Bailey the dog was available to step in and was certainly popular, especially with the service dogs in attendance, who looked on Bailey curiously, like basketball players when Michael Jordan stepped in for a pickup game. Warren—and Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar—are all burning up the highways and byways here this weekend because, as senators, they were obligated to spend two weeks in Washington listening to the grinding of Pat Cipollone’s interests as they conflicted with each other, grinding up the canons of legal ethics along the way. So if the homestretch here is more frantic than usual, blame the effort it takes on the part of this White House to turn the constitutional processes of government into a burlesque.
If nothing else, this obviously should be a good moment for Warren, whose campaign is based on her conviction that our government and our politics are so corrupt that Big Structural Change is needed to clean out the Augean Stables in the District of Columbia. On Saturday, she deftly connected decades of increasing corruption with the undeniable end product, which is this administration* and this president*.
“The good news is that I have the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate,” she said. “The bad news is that we need the biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate. These problems, this corruption, started long before Donald Trump became president.
“Some of the things we can do quietly. But that anti-corruption plan, there’s no way to do that quietly. We can’t keep doing this as a country. The one good thing about Donald Trump is that he’s got everybody off the sidelines. We run against that corruption. We run against the most corrupt administration in the history of this country. Have you been watching these trials? At the center of the whole thing was an ambassador [Gordon Sondland], and how did he get to be an ambassador? He had no qualifications, except that he cut a check to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee for a million dollars. He bought a public office. That is the height of corruption.”
Both Sanders and Warren have arrayed themselves strongly against the money power. However, Warren’s focus is more precisely aimed at the money power’s destruction of ethics and trust, while Sanders seems most concerned with a general critique of the money power’s influence. After two weeks in which the president*’s corruption was laid bare in the Senate, only to have the Republican Senate majority essentially decide that the corruption was an inherent part of the office of the president—Alan Dershowitz as much as said that—and prepare to give him a gentle warning and send him away, it can be argued that corruption of the office is the only issue that should matter.
Oh, and there was more of it revealed on Saturday, too. From CNN:
The Department of Justice revealed in a court filing late Friday that it has two dozen emails related to President Donald Trump’s involvement in the withholding of millions in security assistance to Ukraine — a disclosure that came just hours after the Senate voted against subpoenaing additional documents and witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for his acquittal. The filing, released near midnight Friday, marks the first official acknowledgment from the Trump administration that emails about the President’s thinking related to the aid exist, and that he was directly involved in asking about and deciding on the aid as early as June. The administration is still blocking those emails from the public and has successfully kept them from Congress.
Elizabeth Warren may or may not be the Democratic nominee for president, but she’s latched on to the issue beneath all the others.
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