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American Federation of Teachers launches $1 million ad campaign for HEROES Act

WASHINGTON — The American Federation of Teachers launched a $1 million ad buy on Friday to support the HEROES Act, the House-passed legislation on coronavirus aid. The Senate has not yet moved on the bill which was passed on May 15. 

The new ad, entitled “Essential”, will run for two weeks on Facebook, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News in 10 states plus Washington D.C.: Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Maine, West Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Pennsylvania, Montana and North Carolina. 

The 30-second ad, focuses on two teachers and a food services manager providing students with meals and teaching virtual classes. The campaign also includes a 15-second ad version. The AFT argues that as coronavirus cases begin to increase as states relax restrictions, a second wave could lead to massive layoffs and leave essential workers more at risk to contracting the virus. 

“If the HEROES Act fails to pass, and states and schools don’t get the support they need to reopen safely, then they’ll stay shut and the economy will stall — it’s that simple,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement.

The HEROES Act is a $3 trillion piece of legislation that included another round of stimulus checks for Americans, pay raises for frontline workers, an extension of the $600-per-week unemployment compensation and additional state and local aid. Republicans have called it a “liberal wish list”, and President Trump called the bill “dead on arrival.” 

Joanne Collins Brock, a second grade teacher at St Francis School (Goshen) , teaches online in her empty classroom on April 15, 2020 in Goshen, Ky.Andy Lyons / Getty Images file

Weingarten added, “There are no magic fixes — the only path to recovery is a stimulus package that funds, rather than forfeits, our future. We urgently need the federal dollars included in the HEROES Act to help states, cities, towns and schools weather this rolling storm.” 

It’s unlikely the Republican-controlled Senate will take up any other further pandemic relief until mid-July, after the July 4 recess. After a better-than-expected jobs report in May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said future relief bills would have to be more “focused”. 

“As Senate Republicans have made clear for weeks, future efforts must be laser-focused on helping schools reopen safely in the fall, helping American workers continue to get back on the job, and helping employers reopen and grow. We must keep the wind in our sails, not slam the brakes with left-wing policies that would make rehiring even harder and recovery even more challenging,” McConnell said last week. 

New Biden digital ad hits Trump for reaction to protests

WASHINGTON — For the second time in the past month, Joe Biden’s campaign is accusing President Donald Trump for acting like a “deer in the headlights” as he’s tries to deal with two major crises.  

The campaign’s latest digital ad focuses on the use of force used on protestors in Washington last week to clear the way for Trump’s walk across the street from the White House for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.

“The nation marches for justice and like a deer in the headlights, he’s paralyzed with fear. He doesn’t know what to do so he hides in his bunker,” the narrator says in between images of peaceful protestors chanting George Floyd’s name. 

“Then, he’s afraid he looks too weak so he has tear gas and flash grenades used on peaceful protestors, just for a photo-op,” the narrator continues. “Where is Donald Trump? Too scared to face the people. Too small to meet the moment. Too weak to lead.”

The Biden campaign has tried to define the two major crises of the year — the pandemic and nationwide protests against police mistreatment of African Americans — as moments that show stark contrasts between the president and the presumptive Democratic nominee. In the past week alone the campaign has released two digital ads using Biden’s civil unrest speech in a Philadelphia that highlight his promise not to “fan the flames of hate” like Trump and commitment to support protestors urging progress towards a more equal America.

The latest ad builds on one played across five battleground states last month, where they first made the charge that Trump reacted to the coronavirus pandemic like a “deer in the headlights” at a time when the economy was worsening and the death toll climbing. It will target voters on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube across Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

This is the campaign’s sixth digital ad since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March that targets social media users in key battleground states. They have exclusively left TV ad spending to pro-Biden Super PACs.

Poll: 57 percent of registered voters think government should be doing more to solve problems

WASHINGTON — The share of voters who say that the government should do more to solve Americans’ problems has reached new heights throughout President Donald Trump’s time in office, with the latest NBC News / WSJ poll showing the sentiment just shy of its all-time high. 

Fifty-seven percent of registered voters want the government to solve more problems. Just 38 percent think the government is doing too much, tied for the lowest share since the poll began asking the question in 1995. 

Simultaneously, the share of voters who think the government is doing too many things better left to businesses or individuals has remained at an all-time low. 

During past presidencies, public demand for the government to do more — and to do less — has fluctuated. Under former President Barack Obama, these sentiments oscillated around the high forties and low fifties, with both sides hitting majority support over Obama’s eight years in office.

But at the beginning of the Trump presidency, public opinion sharply diverged in favor of governments doing more. By early 2018, 58 percent felt that the government should do more and 38 percent felt the government should be doing less. That 20-point gap decreased slightly in 2019, only to increase again in 2020. 

While Republicans have historically called for smaller government, Trump at times has bucked that convention. 

During Trump’s 2015 campaign announcement speech, he said he wanted to “save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”

The president’s 2020 budget proposal aimed to make hundreds of billions in cuts to Medicare over the next decade. But after facing pushback, Trump reversed course, tweeting, “I will totally protect your Medicare & Social Security!” 

Anxieties over the cost of entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, along with other government programs and benefits, could be further exacerbated by the current coronavirus pandemic. There have been more than 2 million coronavirus cases in America, and more than 100,000 deaths from the virus. 

Congress has passed a handful of coronavirus relief bills, including direct payments to Americans and the Paycheck Protection Program, loans that would be forgiven provided businesses kept on employees and used the money for certain, approved expenses. 

There have been disagreements among lawmakers as to whether more help is needed, with many Senate Republicans wanting to wait and see before discussing new aid. 

Breaking the latest data down by party, the starkest divide is among Democrats, with 86 percent saying the government is doing too little and 11 percent saying it is not doing enough. 

A slim majority, 51 percent, of independents agree that the government is under-involved. 

The GOP divide on the question of government involvement is less unequivocal than it is for Democrats, but not by much. Twenty-five percent of Republicans wish the government was doing more and 77 percent feel the government is doing too much. 

Ahead of November’s election, some of the key voting groups that led Trump to victory in 2016 are calling for more government involvement. 

For example, 57 percent of white women want the government to be doing more, a group Trump won over Clinton by 9 percent, according to exit polls

Fifty-one percent of working-class whites want the government to do more, along with 52 percent of white voters and 57 percent of those who live in swing states. 

NBC and the Wall Street Journal polled 1000 registered voters between May 28 and June 2. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent. 

Georgia Republican poised to make House runoff after comparing pandemic punishments to socialism

WASHINGTON — In April, we took a look at how three Republican candidates running in for a Republican-leaning open seat in Georgia were messaging on coronavirus.

One highlighted his Air National Guard service to help his community respond to the virus, another blasted “weak Republicans” and “deranged Democrats” before shooting a sign labeled “COVID-19.”, and one called fines for violating social-distancing orders “Chinese-style socialism.”

So with votes still coming in across the after an election plagued by issues, the Associated Press is projecting that the two candidates with the more fiery messaging of the three will advance to a runoff.

With no candidate hitting the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, the AP is projecting that Marjorie Taylor Greene and John Cowan will advance to a runoff in August (while a significant portion of the statewide vote is still outstanding, all but one precinct has reported in the 14th Congressional District, according to the AP’s figures). 

Taylor Green, a business owner who was endorsed by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, ran the ad decrying the “Chinese-style socialism” of punishing people for violating coronavirus-related restrictions.

In the final days before the primary, her messaging largely focused on socialism and criticizing “antifa.” She ran a TV ad blasting “antifa terrorists” who were “declaring war on our cities,” before appearing to chamber a round and telling them to “stay out of northwest Georgia.”

And she ran a spot where triggered explosives by shooting at them with a rifle as she rattled off ideas she wanted to stop in Congress, including gun control, the Green New Deal, open borders and socialism. 

Cowan, a neurosurgeon who ran the ad attacking “weak Republicans” and shooting a mock-up of the virus, continued to run that one spot down the stretch.  

Priorities USA electoral projection puts Biden over 300, while cautioning election still volatile

WASHINGTON — Priorities USA, the major Democratic super-PAC backing former Vice President Joe Biden, has the Democrat leading President Trump in its electoral college projection 305 votes to 204.

Florida is the only state on the map considered a toss-up in the analysis, which the group considers a state where the candidates have between 49.5 and 50.5 percent of the vote. The group’s analysis is culled in part from its recent battleground and national polling and is based on where the race stands today, not a projection for the November election. 

Priorities’ current polling has Biden ahead in the crucial states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as in Arizona and North Carolina. Recent public polls have shown Biden up in many battleground states as well. 

But Priorities also points out that just a 3-point drop for Biden – among both white working-class voters and minority voters – would narrow the Democrat’s advantage over Trump to 259 to 248, with Trump winning Florida and North Carolina, and with Arizona and Pennsylvania moving to the “toss-up” category.

Before this recent surge by Biden, Priorities says the overall Trump-vs.-Biden race has been fairly close over the past year. This is the first time in the group’s projection Biden eclipsed the 300 electoral vote mark. 

“We have seen some significant movements over the course of the last four weeks in particular, in Arizona and North Carolina, although those states are still within 2 points,” Priorities chairman Guy Cecil told reporters during a Wednesday media briefing. 

“Structurally, while we’ve seen improvements, this race continues to be close.”

Priorities’ polling also shows Trump’s current job rating (at 41 percent approve, 55 percent disapprove) at one of the lowest levels of his presidency.

“We are very quickly approaching the -17 points that we saw immediately following the shutdown at the beginning of last year. This is among the worst approval ratings in our internal data has shown since Donald Trump became president,” Cecil said. 

Trump approval rating drops 10 points in Gallup poll

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s approval rating dropped 10 points from May to June among adults, according to Gallup’s latest poll. 

The new numbers, which show Trump’s approval at 39 percent and disapproval at 57 percent, is one of the largest dips in a single-month period for the president in Gallup’s tracking. In May, Gallup showed Trump’s approval and disapproval ratings nearly even at 49 and 48 percent respectively. 

President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House on May 30, 2020.Stefani Reynolds / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

The dip comes as more Americans take issue with the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and protests across the country against police brutality. In the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 80 percent of registered voters said they felt things in the U.S. were “out of control.” Additionally, President Trump continues to struggle in national and state polls against presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

A group of Fox News polls released last week show Trump trailing Biden in Arizona, Wisconsin and Ohio. Trump won those states handedly in 2016, and those states could be must-win for the president in November. 

The president met with senior advisers and campaign officials last week to discuss concerning internal polling in reliably Republican states like Texas. But on Twitter, Trump has argued that publicly released polling hasn’t been accurate. On Monday Trump announced he hired an outside polling group to analyze polls he “felt were fake.” 

Republican senators launching ads attacking Joe Biden

WASHINGTON — Two Republican senators have launched ads attacking former Vice President Joe Biden as the Democrat continues to lead President Trump in recent polls. 

Arizona Republican Sen. Martha McSally has aired two ads in recent days evoking Biden as a foil, alongside likely Arizona Democratic nominee Mark Kelly.

And Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton has a new digital spot blasting Biden as “too confused to lead.” 

The McSally spots aim to tie Biden to Kelly — one argues the pair won’t be able to hold China accountable (Republicans have hit Kelly on the airwaves for his business ties to China), while another says that Kelly will “help Joe Biden pass a new government-controlled health insurance system” (Both Kelly and Biden support a public option, not Medicare-for-All). 

McSally was down big in Fox News’ recent poll of the Senate race (trailing Kelly 50 to 37 among registered voters). And Biden led Trump by 4 points in that same poll of the state that Trump won by 3.5 points in 2016.

While that Biden lead is within the margin of error, there are signs that there could be trouble in Arizona at the top of the ticket, as Democratic groups are pushing into the once reliably Republican state. 

Meanwhile, Cotton, who has no Democratic opponent in the fall, just released a new digital ad attacking China for “lies” that “spread the China virus across the world,” as well as Biden by rounding up a complication of his recent missteps to argue he’s “too confused to lead.” 

The spot, first reported by Breitbart News, will run in Michigan and Iowa as part of an initial, five-figure buy. 

Cotton’s political website features another anti-Biden video, one from March that calls Biden “weak on China.” 

And Cotton’s not the first Republican without a Democratic challenger in the fall to try to give his party air cover by attacking Biden. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., bought TV time ahead of the Iowa caucuses to criticize Biden and defend the president during impeachment.

While Cotton is running for reelection this year, the Democrats couldn’t field a challenger to run against him after one candidate dropped out shortly after the filing deadline. 

Multiple states hold key primaries as coronavirus pandemic, Floyd protests continue

WASHINGTON — On the day of George Floyd’s funeral in Houston and as coronavirus cases continue to rise, several states are holding primaries to determine which candidates will represent their parties come November.

Here are the races the NBC News political unit are paying closest attention to:

Georgia Senate: The top primary contest to watch is in Georgia, where several Democrats are running for the right to challenge Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., in the fall.

The favorite in this Democratic primary is 2017 congressional nominee, Jon Ossoff, and his top challengers are former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and businesswoman Sarah Riggs Amico. The Cook Political Report lists the race as “Lean Republican” for November.

If none of the candidates break 50 percent, the Top 2 will advance to an Aug. 11 runoff.

Jon Ossoff delivers his concession speech to supporters at his election night watch party in Atlanta on June 20, 2017.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file

South Carolina Senate: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Democrat Jaime Harrison receive nominal primary opposition ahead of their expected November showdown in the Palmetto State. Harrison has raked in significant fundraising ahead of today’s contest. 

Nevada 3rd District: Republicans will pick their nominee in Nevada to face Democratic Congresswoman Susie Lee, D-Nev., in the competitive Nevada district. 

Nevada 4th District: Also in Nevada, incumbent Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, who recently admitted to having an affair with a former Senate staffer, is receiving a primary challenge from multiple Democrats, as well as Republicans who are trying to reclaim the seat. 

For the contests in both the third and fourth House districts in the state, it’s important to note that Nevada secretary of state, Barbara Cegavske, has sent mail-in ballots to all of Nevada’s registered voters. 

—Liz Brown-Kaiser contributed.

Dem group American Bridge launches $20 million battleground state ad buy

WASHINGTON — American Bridge is rolling out a $20 million ad campaign over 10 weeks in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the hopes of softening up President Trump in the blue wall states he flipped to secure his 2016 victory. 

The first spots feature voters who backed Trump in 2016 explaining why they are now backing former Vice President Joe Biden. 

In one Wisconsin spot, a Vietnam veteran named John argues that the “Trump economy” isn’t working for the working class. 

“This time, I’m voting for Joe Biden because I think that Joe Biden has the good of the country in his heart,” he says.

“To compare Donald Trump with Joe Biden — I can bet my life on most of what Joe Biden has to say. I wouldn’t bet my life on the next three things that come out of Donald Trump’s mouth, because one of them will probably be a lie.” 

In another spot airing in Pennsylvania, a Westmoreland County voter named Janie said that she’s “disappointed” in Trump, while “Joe Biden understands how the government works, and I trust him.” 

The new buy runs through the end of August, and will include TV, radio and digital ads. The group is targeting a smattering of markets across the state, including many of the Trump-leaning areas that the president’s campaign recently targeted with its recent ad buy. 

Trump campaign seizes on calls for Dems to support ‘defund the police’ movement

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign is seizing on mounting calls to defund police by calling out prominent Democrats who are supportive of the movement after the death of George Floyd, who was killed when an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The Trump re-elect effort held a call with reporters on Monday to criticize the “left’s radical proposals to defund the police,” specifically pressuring apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden to speak out in opposition to the idea. 

A protester holds a sign that reads, “Defund the Police” during a protest in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 7, 2020.Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Minutes later, the Biden campaign issued a statement doing so.

“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded. He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain,” spokesman Andrew Bates said, stressing Biden supports the “urgent need for reform.”

On the call, the Trump campaign slammed members of the so-called “Squad,” including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, for being open to defunding and disbanding police.

“It is consuming the entire Democrat party as the most extreme elements have the loudest voices and demand acquiescence,” communications director Tim Murtaugh said, also name-checking notable Democrats such as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Rep. Val Demings — who is currently being vetted as a possible running mate for Biden.

Murtaugh jabbed at Bowser for not stepping in and stopping activists from adding the words “DEFUND THE POLICE” to the existing city-commissioned “BLACK LIVES MATTER” mural on 16th St., near the White House.

The campaign also had two surrogates on the call with reporters to attack Democrats: former Cincinnati Mayor Ken Blackwell and former Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh. 

They both argued it was impossible to operate cities “without local law enforcement” and took the extreme view of the concept in terms of disbanding police, seemingly ignoring one of the larger ideas of the movement in terms of allocating resources differently.   

“Should law enforcement be accountable? Absolutely,” Welsh conceded, but the idea of dismantling police “will do nothing but create chaos and anarchy” she claimed. 

Asked about whether any of the people on the call believe systemic racism exists in policing, Murtaugh said: “No one hates a bad cop worse than a good cop. I think that there are people who have bad attitudes … in all organizations.” The others referred to a “few bad apples,” which is something top Trump administration officials have echoed in the last few weeks. 

The campaign could not comment on any particular policy proposals that would be forthcoming on the larger issue of police reform from the president and deferred to the White House on that. 

If the president’s feed is any indication, this issue will continue to be highlighted by both him and the campaign this summer. The re-elect effort has already sent fundraising list emails this weekend, saying: “We can’t stand by while the Left tries to DEFUND THE POLICE.”

Biden campaign launches turnout effort targeting LGBTQ voters

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on Monday announced the launch of a robust get-out-the-vote effort targeting LGBTQ voters.

The effort, called, “Out for Biden,” will be aimed at turning out a record number of LGBTQ voters in November by fostering “relationships with pro-equality partners to register and mobilize LGBTQ+ voters around the country, with an emphasis on key battleground states,” the campaign said in a statement.

“Our campaign’s decision to launch Out for Biden in the shadow of historic protest elevates the power of the moment and encourages deep — and sometimes difficult — dialogue within our LGBTQ+ community as Pride month begins,” said Reggie Greer, the Biden campaign’s LGBTQ+ vote director. “LGBTQ+ people of color are central to the fabric of our communities. We must elect a government that will center their voices and celebrate the contributions of LGBTQ+ people everywhere,” Greer added.

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If Bolton says Trump ‘wanted’ to freeze $391 million of military aid to Ukraine until investigations were announced, why was it never communicated to Ukraine?

By Robert Romano

“President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.”

That was the New York Times’ preview of potential testimony by former National Security Advisor John Bolton at the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, where the President allegedly told Bolton “he preferred sending no assistance to Ukraine until officials had turned over all materials they had about the Russia investigation that related to Mr. Biden and supporters of Mrs. Clinton in Ukraine.”

That, we are led to believe, if and when he ever testifies, will be Bolton’s description of the President’s intent with regards to the aid, which was ultimately released on Sept. 11, the same day Bolton was fired.

“Wanted.”

“Preferred.”

And yet, neither the White House nor the State Department never directly conveyed any such conditions to Ukraine, despite the aid being frozen in July, until after Politico broke the story of the aid being frozen on Aug. 28, undercutting the key part of the House’s prosecution — that military assistance to Ukraine was threatened unless investigations were announced.

Even then, the only official who conveyed such conditions, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said in House testimony he was simply presuming the aid was being conditioned: “No one told me directly that the aid was tied to anything. I was presuming it was.”

According to both former ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and former Senior Director for European Affairs at the White House and the National Security Council Tim Morrison’s testimony, Ukrainian officials were unaware of any pause in the funding until the Politico story was published a month after President Trump spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

Zelensky later said in September there was “no pressure.”

Yet, the Articles of Impeachment say Trump “conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested—the release of $391 million of United States taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the  purpose  of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression and which President Trump had ordered suspended.”

Now we learn from Bolton that Trump “preferred” it that way.

This amounts to a kind of thought crime. Kind of like that time the President “wanted” to fire former Special Counsel Robert Mueller but never actually did. Here, the government never told Ukraine there were conditions attached to aid.

 

But even if it had been conditioned, those are all things the President has the power to do constitutionally under Article II and legally under laws passed by Congress. That is, reviewing military assistance to a non-treaty partner to see if it serves U.S. interests, or whether Ukraine is simply too corrupt to deal with.

In this case, the question is on military assistance to Ukraine, which is not in NATO but is embroiled in a civil war with pro-Russian forces, that could lead to a wider regional war in Europe or a global one involving the U.S. and Russia, risking a nuclear exchange, raising national security concerns. Of course the President should be reviewing such a hotspot to ensure it doesn’t lead to a wider war. That’s his job to keep us out of wars.

The funds were initially frozen in July by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the agencies authority under 31 U.S.C. 1512 to conduct apportionments while the President considered whether or not to request a rescission of the funding under the Impoundment Control Act.

The Office of Management and Budget says it did nothing wrong, with OMB communications director Rachel Semmel issuing a statement saying, “As has been well documented, we fully complied with the law and decades of precedent with respect to these funds. Congress is notified if the administration intends to rescind, defer, reprogram or transfer funding, but in this case none of those things occurred and the funding was obligated as planned.”

Under 2 U.S.C. Section 684 or 2 U.S.C. Section 683, the Impoundment Control Act, the President has the power to propose deferring funds on a temporary basis or rescinding them altogether, subject to Congressional approval.

The hold on Ukrainian aid came amid a wider freeze and review of overall State Department and USAID foreign aid spending in August. The Articles of Impeachment do not allege this wider freeze constituted criminal conduct.

The President has discretion to ensure that all relationships with foreign governments — even treaties — continue to advance the administration’s foreign policy agenda.

If Bolton were to testify, Senators might want to ask him about his career of encouraging presidents to terminate treaties with foreign governments under the President’s inherent Article II executive powers. This is the same unitary executive legal doctrine under which presidential impoundment of monies has historically been exercised. The first presidential impoundment occurred in 1800 by then President Thomas Jefferson, available to subsequent presidents until the Impoundment Control Act was adopted in 1974.

During the administration of President George W. Bush, Bolton supported unilaterally withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, which Bush ultimately did in 2002. Bolton wrote in his memoirs, “it was absolutely critical to get out of the ABM Treaty unambiguously. Then, whether we succeeded or failed in broader negotiations with Russia, we would be free to pursue a missile defense system to protect Americans from current threats,” calling it mockingly a “sacred scroll” to arms control advocates.

The decision was legally justified with a Nov. 2001 Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel opinion from then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and Robert Delahunty, who argued that the President could unilaterally withdraw from treaties without any Congressional action, including from the Senate, citing the 1793 Proclamation of Neutrality by George Washington, suspending a mutual defense treaty with France when it went to war with Great Britain, FDR’s decision to rescind a treaty with Japan in 1939 and Jimmy Carter’s withdrawal from a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in 1979 as ample precedents.

Yoo and Delahunty wrote, “The President’s power to terminate treaties must reside in the President as a necessary corollary to the exercise of the President’s other plenary foreign affairs powers. As noted before, the President is the sole organ of the nation in regard to foreign nations. A President, therefore, may need to terminate a treaty in order to implement his decision to recognize a foreign government. Or, for example, the President may wish to terminate a treaty in order to reflect the fact that the treaty has become obsolete, to sanction a treaty partner for violations, to protect the United States from commitments that would threaten its national security, to condemn human rights violations, or to negotiate a better agreement.”

In 1793, Alexander Hamilton wrote of the President’s treaty withdrawal power in defense of the Proclamation of Neutrality: “though treaties can only be made by the President and Senate, their activity may be continued or suspended by the President alone.”

Bolton would later pen an oped with Yoo in the Wall Street Journal in 2014 arguing for unilateral presidential withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, which President Trump ultimately did in August 2019.

So, a good question would be why Bolton thinks presidents can unilaterally terminate treaties that require Senate ratification with military allies to keep us out of an unintentional war, but not pause appropriated military assistance to a non-treaty partner when it could drag us into one.

Either way, this boils down to a policy disagreement between Bolton and Trump, not a high crime or misdemeanor, and certainly not an act of bribery or treason. If this is all the House has, the President’s acquittal is all but certain.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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Elizabeth Warren dips in fourth quarter fundraising with $21.2 million

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $21.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, ending the year behind her top-tier Democratic rivals with a dip in donations reflective of her struggling campaign.

Warren’s campaign said days before the deadline she had just $17 million — far short of the $24.6 million she raked in during the third quarter, the second-highest sum in the field. Her team had set a goal of $20 million, acknowledging the campaign would fall short of the previous quarter.

The Massachusetts Democrat ultimately exceeded her goal, buoyed by 443,000 donors who made nearly 900,000 contributions. The average donation to her campaign was $23.

Warren has raised more than $71 million throughout her presidential bid from nearly one million donors, she said Friday on Twitter.

“I’m so deeply grateful for everyone supporting our campaign,” she said. “Team Warren is ready to dream big, fight hard, and win!”

But Warren came up short compared to her key Democratic rivals, several of whom posted their best quarters yet.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders blew away the field with $34.5 million, the highest quarterly sum for a Democrat this cycle. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — who has been feuding with Warren for weeks over campaign finance transparency — finished with $24.7 million. And former Vice President Joe Biden rebounded from a lackluster third quarter to close out the year with $22.7 million, his best quarter yet.

Warren’s fundraising dip reflects the slowing momentum around her campaign, which was battered throughout the fall over “Medicare for All.” Once statistically tying Biden as the polling leader, Warren slipped in both national and early state polls as the moderate Buttigieg rose.

Another moderate rival, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, raised $11.4 million in the fourth quarter, more than doubling her third quarter total, her campaign announced Friday. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang raised $16.5 million, his best quarter yet.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Fourth-Quarter Total Is $21.2 Million, Her Campaign Says

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts raised $21.2 million for her presidential campaign in the fourth quarter of 2019, her team announced on Friday, a slight dip from the previous quarter and behind three of her top rivals for the Democratic nomination.

The total raised by Ms. Warren in the final three months of the year was lower than the $24.6 million she raised from July to September. Last week, her campaign had signaled her lagging fund-raising effort for the quarter, which echoed her slip in the polls over the same period. Days before the end the year, her campaign took the unusual step of going public with its financial performance, announcing that it had raised just over $17 million and conceding that “it will be nearly impossible to match last quarter at this point.”

That turned out to be right. But her campaign said the announcement also helped spur her best end-of-quarter run of donations in all of 2019 — more than $4 million in five days — and her best fund-raising day of the campaign, when she brought in $1.5 million on Dec. 31.

Over all, Ms. Warren’s money came from nearly 900,000 contributions in the quarter, with an average donation of about $23, demonstrating her potent grass-roots support.

She reiterated her message at a town-hall-style event in New Hampshire on Thursday. “Our democracy really is on the line,” she said, “and if the only way you can become the Democratic nominee is to be a billionaire or suck up to the billionaires, then look out, America.”

All told, Ms. Warren raised $71 million in 2019 from nearly one million people making more than 2.7 million donations, her campaign said Friday.

When Ms. Warren began her presidential bid a year ago, her fund-raising got off to a slow start. But as the year went on and she gained steam in the primary race, propelled by her seemingly endless stream of policy plans, her grass-roots fund-raising strategy appeared to be paying off. She raised more money in the third quarter than anyone aside from Mr. Sanders, and her fund-raising had grown in each quarter of the year.

Her dip in the fourth quarter — in both fund-raising and polling — came as some of her Democratic rivals attacked her over the critical issue of health care. Ms. Warren had aligned herself with Mr. Sanders in support of a “Medicare for all” single-payer health insurance system, but she faced repeated questions over whether she would raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for the system and came under sharp criticism at the October debate.

She later released a financing plan that would not raise taxes on the middle class, as well as a plan for transitioning to Medicare for all.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, in October, national polling showed Ms. Warren as a front-runner in the Democratic race, along with Mr. Biden. She remains in the top tier of candidates, but currently trails both Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders in national polling averages.

Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.

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Joe Biden raises $22.7 million in fourth quarter

Joe Biden brought in $22.7 million during the final three months of 2019 — but his best fundraising quarter to date still leaves the polling frontrunner trailing Democratic rivals Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

Biden’s fourth-quarter haul far exceeds the $15.2 million he brought in during the third quarter, and tops the $21.5 million he raised during the second quarter. Biden’s campaign said Thursday he’s raised $59.5 million overall since launching his campaign on April 25.

But Biden’s sum leaves him nearly $12 million behind Sanders, who raised $34.5 million in the fourth quarter and has collected more than $96 million through 5 million donations since launching his bid in February, the Vermont U.S. senator said.

Buttigieg’s campaign said the former South Bend, Ind., mayor raised more than $24.7 million from 2 million contributions.

The Democratic field as a whole continues to trail President Trump, whose campaign said it took in $46 million in the final three months of the year.

Biden’s campaign said digital revenue per day more than doubled during impeachment, up 121%, even as the former vice president weathered attacks from Trump over his and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

“These numbers clearly demonstrate Donald Trump’s lies and attacks on the Vice President have only cemented and expanded his support, serving as a constant reminder to Democratic primary voters that Trump is terrified by the idea of facing Joe Biden in a general election,” said Biden’s campaign manager, Greg Schultz. “We’re also seeing significant support from Democrats who previously supported other candidates and are now rallying behind the candidate they believe can bring the country together and beat Donald Trump.”

After a lackluster third quarter, Biden’s team said his online fundraising doubled and overall fundraising went up 49% in the fourth quarter.

Biden remains the Democratic front-runner in national polls, though both Sanders and Buttigieg polled ahead of him in New Hampshire and Iowa the last time early state polls were conducted in mid-December, according to Real Clear Politics averages.

Schultz called the financial numbers “the latest evidence of Joe Biden’s growing strength and momentum heading into the early contests of 2020.”

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang also announced his fundraising total Thursday, posting a personal best $16.5 million, breaking his record of $10 million in the previous quarter and crossing 1 million donations.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign said she had raised $17 million about four days before Tuesday’s quarterly deadline, releasing her total early in hopes of reaching a $20 million goal by Dec. 31. Her campaign has yet to announce its fourth quarter total.

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Joe Biden Announces $22.7 Million in Fourth Quarter Fund-Raising

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Thursday that he had raised $22.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, a significant improvement from his lackluster fund-raising performance in the previous three months.

Mr. Biden’s total, for the period from October through December, far exceeded the $15.7 million that he had raised during the third quarter. It was his largest quarterly haul so far, surpassing the $22 million he brought in during the second quarter.

But Mr. Biden’s fourth-quarter total was much smaller than that of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whose campaign announced earlier Thursday that it had raised more than $34.5 million in the quarter. Mr. Biden, the former vice president, also lagged behind Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., whose campaign revealed on Wednesday that it had brought in more than $24.7 million. Another leading candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, has not yet announced her fund-raising total.

While Mr. Biden’s fund-raising rebound did not vault him to the top of the Democratic pack, it still offered a reassuring sign for his supporters as the primary race heads into the final weeks before the Iowa caucuses in early February. His campaign said its online fund-raising doubled in the fourth quarter, and that more than half its donors in the quarter gave to the campaign for the first time. The average donation in the quarter was $41, the campaign said.

President Trump’s impeachment appeared to lift Mr. Biden’s fund-raising. The Biden campaign said the average amount of money it raised online per day more than doubled during the House’s impeachment inquiry compared with previous weeks.

Greg Schultz, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, said on Thursday that the fund-raising announcement was “just the latest evidence of Joe Biden’s growing strength and momentum.”

“These numbers clearly demonstrate Donald Trump’s lies and attacks on the vice president have only cemented and expanded his support, serving as a constant reminder to Democratic primary voters that Trump is terrified by the idea of facing Joe Biden in a general election,” Mr. Schultz said in a statement.

Mr. Biden continues to lead national primary polls, but he has faced lingering doubts about enthusiasm for his candidacy, especially from grass-roots donors. Those doubts had been exacerbated by his weak performance in the third quarter, when his campaign spent $2 million more than it took in. He ended that period with far less cash on hand than Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren or Mr. Buttigieg.

Mr. Biden’s campaign did not say how much money it had on hand at the end of the fourth quarter. But in a memo on Thursday, Mr. Schultz wrote that “we will always be playing from behind in the cash race” because Mr. Biden had not transferred money to his presidential campaign from other campaign accounts — an apparent reference to Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, who both did so. Mr. Schultz wrote that the campaign remained “as vigilant as ever about the budget, watching every penny.”

For the fourth quarter, Mr. Biden’s campaign had publicly set a goal of receiving 500,000 individual donations. The campaign said on Thursday that it had met that goal, though it did not specify how many donations it had received.

Mr. Biden’s grass-roots strength still lags far behind some of his rivals, such as Mr. Sanders, whose campaign said it received more than 1.8 million donations in the quarter. Mr. Sanders received far more donations in December alone — more than 900,000 — than Mr. Biden had set as a goal for the three-month period.

Unlike Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden is relying on the traditional fund-raising circuit to raise money for his campaign, in addition to what he collects from grass-roots donors. Last week, Mr. Biden released a list of more than 200 people, known as bundlers, who had raised at least $25,000 for his campaign.

Ms. Warren, asked on Thursday about her own fourth-quarter donations, said that her fund-raising total would be released “soon” and, without naming them, made an implicit jab at Mr. Biden and Mr. Buttigieg for relying in part on big-dollar events and bundlers to bring in money from wealthy donors.

“I didn’t spend one single minute selling access to my time to millionaires and billionaires,” she said to reporters after a campaign event in Concord, N.H. “I did this grass-roots all across the county.”

The Biden campaign had already boasted of its fund-raising rebound, announcing in early December that it had raised as much money in the first two months of the fourth quarter as it had during the entire previous quarter.

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Joe Biden raised $22.7 million in fourth quarter

The figure puts the former vice president behind Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who raised $34.5 million in the same stretch from October through December, as well as South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose fourth-quarter haul was $24.7 million.

The other member of the 2020 Democratic presidential race’s top tier, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has not yet released her fourth-quarter fundraising numbers — though her campaign told supporters late last week that, days from the deadline, she so far had raised $17 million, down from her $24.6 million third quarter.

For Biden, the fourth quarter was better than the previous two three-month stretches of his candidacy: He raised $21.5 million in 2019’s second quarter and $15.2 million in the third quarter.

“I’m excited to share that we raised $22.7 million this last quarter — our biggest quarter so far this campaign!” Biden said in a tweet along with a video Thursday afternoon. “Thank you to everyone who chipped in what you could — your support means the world to me. You truly are the heart of our campaign.”

The former vice president has held more than 100 fundraising events, which small groups of reporters have been allowed to attend.

Biden’s campaign said its online donations doubled during the fourth quarter — with a particular bump during the House’s impeachment proceedings: The amount the campaign brought in online climbed by 121% compared to the weeks before.

Overall, the average donation to Biden was $41, his campaign said.

The announcement came on the same day Biden started a four-day swing through Iowa, where his campaign has said it expects the former vice president to spend much of his time in January. He also picked up the first Democratic congressional endorsement from Iowa of the 2020 race, with Rep. Abby Finkenauer announcing her support.

Gone was the “No Malarkey” branding from previous Biden Iowa bus tours. This time, his bus was emblazoned with the words “Battle for the soul of the nation.”

He is attempting to hold on to his front-runner status through the first two contests next month, the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. Then, the campaign shifts to states where the Democratic electorate is more diverse. He’s maintained a massive lead among black voters who make up more than half the Democratic electorate in South Carolina.